As expected underground storage in the Gulf surpassed last year’s 974 Bcf peak (14-Nov-08). In other words, there is now more gas in the ground than at the start of last winter’s heating season. Therefore, Northeast utilities, which store gas in the Gulf, have tremendous flexibility this summer to manage peak a/c load…assuming we’ll actually have to turn our air conditioners on this summer (i.e. temperatures where we are in the Philadelphia area have averaged around 66°F over the five days… or about 7 degrees below normal).
In the East, where the bulk of the nation’s winter storage facilities are concentrated, inventories rose by a seasonally large 73 Bcf or 6.7%. It was the eleventh injection of the season, the sum of which is 523 Bcf. The seasonal disposition in refills is still in deficit, i.e. injections were currently running around 2.3% lower as of last Friday. But, that shortfall has improved every single week since the start of the season. More importantly, the year-on-year surplus increased both on an outright basis to 167 Bcf and on a percentage basis to 16.8%.
Finally, out in the West supplies increased by 13 Bcf or 3.3%. That is a seasonally normal injection. The year-on-year surplus increased to 129 Bcf and the percentage slipped from 47.9% to 46.2% as a result. Injections this season now sum 132 Bcf, which is more than 9% above the norm.
Bottom line, the nearby fundamental picture appears as bearish as ever. Underground caverns, mines and aquifers are brimming. The 5-year average surplus (interpolated) increased by 79 bps to 22.6% or 472 Bcf.