The amount of working natural gas in storage matched the record level posted three years ago and is expected to surpass it in November, the federal government reported.
There was 3.929 billion cubic feet of surplus working natural gas as of Oct. 30, the same amount in storage on Nov. 20, 2012, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report. Working natural gas is the volume of natural gas available for withdrawal.
Although October marks the traditional end of the injection season, the agency reported, inventory increases will continue through the first weeks of November, meaning that inventories could surpass 4 trillion cubic feet in coming weeks, depending on the weather.
Inventory builds have remained strong through the summer, with inventories surpassing the five-year average for most weeks, and during 2015 marketed natural gas production levels remained several billion cubic feet above year-ago levels, the EIA reported.
While relatively low natural gas prices have reflected this activty — it closed at $2.364 on Thursday — it has had little impact on production. The price has been below $3 all year and EIA forecasts it will remain below that mark for most of 2016.
Additionally, the EIA projects that there will be less demand for natural gas this winter based on weather forecasts of a somewhat-warmer-than-normal winter by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s forecast.