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Natural gas futures soared 8 percent on Thursday, marking their highest one-day jump this year, after government figures showed that the build in the gas inventories last week was the lowest for a summer week since 2006.
Natural gas contracts for September delivery surged by 21.3 cents, to $2.873 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday, the biggest one-day jump since December 2015.
The futures soared after the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said earlier on Thursday that working gas in storage increased by 17 billion cubic feet (bcf) to 3,294 bcf for the week ended July 22. Analysts polled by The Wall Street Journal had anticipated the inventory build to have been 27 bcf. Traders and analysts have commented that the lower-than-expected stockpile build was due to the very warm week in the U.S.
Meanwhile, oil headed lower for a six straight day and is almost touching the US$40-mark for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for September delivery, the lowest level since the middle of April.
Earlier this week, the EIA said that commercial crude oil inventories gained 1.7 million barrels in the week to July 22, reaching 521.1 million barrels. This is a historic high for this time of year, the agency noted in its weekly inventory report. Prior to that, the American Petroleum Institute had reported an 800,000-barrel draw in commercial crude oil inventories for last week. Strategic inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, however, were up by 1.4 million barrels, according to the industry body.
EIA figures showed that refineries processed an average 26.6 million barrels daily in the week to July 22, down 277,000 barrels on the week. Capacity utilization was at 92.4 percent. Gasoline production was 10.1 million barrels a day. The U.S. imported an average of 8.4 million barrels of crude daily in the week to July 22, a 303,000-barrel weekly increase.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for OIlprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and…