Natural gas sold off as the stocks estimate came much closer to my estimate than the street’s. The EIA reported that working gas in storage was 2,684 Bcf as of Friday, February 1, 2013, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decline of 118 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 226 bcf less than last year at this time and 351 bcf above the five-year average of 2,333 bcf. In the East Region, stocks were 118 bcf above the five-year average following net withdrawals of 88 bcf. Stocks in the producing region were 174 bcf above the five-year average of 819 bcf after a net withdrawal of 20 bcf. Stocks in the West Region were 59 bcf above the five-year average after a net drawdown of 10 bcf. At 2,684 bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
Natural gas longer term is looking at an increase in power generation. Reuters said that power production in the continental United States for the week that ended Feb. 2 rose 6.2% from the corresponding week in 2012 to 76,374 gigawatt hours (GWh), according to data released Wednesday by the Edison Electric Institute. Output rose in all but one of the nine U.S. regions, with the largest year-on-year percentage gain in the West Central region at 15% to 6,054 GWh.