U.S. natural gas storage shows 72-bcf draw last week, just below forecast - EIA

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By Barani Krishnan

Investing.com - Utilities drew 72 bcf, or billion cubic feet, from U.S. natural gas storage for heating and electricity generation last week, just slightly below levels forecast by industry analysts, government data showed Thursday.

The draw was larger than the 55-bcf withdrawal seen during the same week a year ago and the five-year (2018-2022) average decline of 45 bcf, the weekly supply-demand report in gas from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, or EIA, showed.

Analysts forecast a draw of 75 bcf for the week ended March 17.

The EIA gas storage report showed a balance of 1.9 tcf, or trillion cubic feet, as of March 17. That was up 36.1% from the year-ago level of 1.396 tcf and 22.7% higher than the five-year average of 1.549 tcf.

Some 10 minutes after the release of the data, the front-month April gas contract on New York Mercantile Exchange’s Henry Hub hovered at $2.237 per mmBtu, or metric million British thermal units by 10:50 ET (14:50 GMT) — up 6.6 cents, or 3%, from Wednesday's close.

An unusually warm start to the 2022/23 winter season has led to considerably less heating demand in the United States versus the norm, leaving more gas in storage than initially thought.

Responding to the warmth and lackluster storage draws, gas prices plunged from a 14-year high of $10 per mmBtu in August, reaching $7 in December and $2 levels since February.

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