The EIA reported a net gas storage withdrawal of 49 BCF this morning for the week ending December 30, 2016. This week’s report was below the market’s expectation which was centered around a 66 BCF withdrawal. It also compares very bearishly against 98 BCF withdrawn in this same week last year and the five year average for this week which is a withdrawal of 107 BCF.
February 2017 NYMEX natural gas futures are currently down $0.07 at $3.19/MMBtu. Gas futures have been down nearly 20% in the past week after a sharp turn around in weather forecasts over the extended New Year’s Holiday indicating a shift from well below normal temperatures to above normal temperatures spreading across North America over the next couple of weeks. Futures dropped nearly $0.40/MMBtu after the market reopened on Tuesday.
February 2017 NYMEX crude oil futures are currently $0.55 higher at $53.81/Bbl. Oil prices are near an 18 month high on optimism that OPEC and eleven other major oil producing nations will follow through with pledges to cut oil production beginning this month. There are plenty reasons to question whether the production cuts will materialize and, if they do, whether North American shale producers will ramp up production to fill the gap. For now bullish market sentiment is providing he support necessary to continue to keep pricing north of $50/Bbl.
Natural gas inventories currently stand at 3,311 BCF which is 364 BCF less than from this same week last year and 21 BCF below the five year average.