Natural gas storage net withdrawals hit a new record for early January at 359 Bcf (10.1 X 109 m3), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). That amount tops the previous record (288 Bcf [8.1 X 109 m3]) set four years ago by 25%.
Frigid temperatures across the East, Midwest and South Central regions of the United States created a strong natural gas demand. Temperatures were cold near the end of December, but fell even further during the first week of January, the EIA said.
PointLogic Energy estimates that natural gas consumption in the commercial and residential sectors totaled 452 Bcf (12.7 X 109 m3) during the week ending January 5 compared with 348 Bcf (9.8 X 109 m3) during the prior report week. Overall, natural gas consumption in the Lower 48 states increased 150 Bcf (4.2 X 109 m3) during the storage week to 961 Bcf (27.2 X 109 m3), which also includes exports, according to the EIA.
Weekly net withdrawals have hit at least 249 Bcf (7.05 X 109 m3) only 10 times since 1993, with the most recent occurring in January 2015. These amounts have never exceeded 300 Bcf (8.4 X 109 m3) until now. Of these 10 times, four took place during the 2013-14 winter season, which was colder than normal, the EIA said.