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Cold blast pushes record natural gas demand

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Commodities tomorrow: Nat gas demand ticks up

Natural gas demand was at an all-time high for a second day Tuesday, but prices slipped as more moderate temperatures were expected and a government agency lowered its estimate for overall gas consumption in 2014 by 2.2 percent.

Platts' Bentek Energy said natural gas delivered to consumers across the U.S. hit 134.3 billion cubic feet per day, surpassing Monday's record 130.4 Bcf/d. Demand was highest in the Northeast where residential and commercial demand jumped 30 percent from Monday's level.

February natural gas futures, traded on the Nymex, fell 7 cents to $4.299 per million British thermal units, after moving higher earlier in the day. Natural gas has run up 2.3 percent since the beginning of January, and is up 23 percent in the last three months.

But falling inventories could keep the upward pressure on prices, especially if there's another cold blast. "We're chewing through inventory. We'll probably be down to 2 trillion cubic feet in January, and we didn't see that level until March last year. We're ripping through it. There's going to be some extremely large withdrawals in storage in coming reports," said John Kilduff of Again Capital.

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