The extreme winter weather last week resulted in the second-largest withdrawal of natural gas from storage in the U.S. as demand spiked, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Friday.
In the week to February 19, natural gas stocks fell by 338 billion cubic feet (Bcf), nearly three times the average withdrawal for the middle of February, the EIA said in its Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report on Thursday.
Last week’s withdrawal exceeded the historical five-year average net withdrawals for the week by 218 Bcf, and was just 21 Bcf lower than the all-time weekly record withdrawal of 359 Bcf reported for the week to January 5, 2018, EIA’s latest Natural Gas Weekly Update showed.
In the week to February 19, a record amount of natural gas, 156 Bcf, was withdrawn in the South Central region, which includes Texas.
Residential and commercial consumption of natural gas in the United States averaged 62 billion Bcf/d during the week, which was the second-highest level in history after the record 64 Bcf/day reported for the week ending January 5, 2018. Electric power consumption of natural gas set a new winter high, surpassing 33 Bcf/d, the EIA said. Gas demand from the industrial sector demand set a new all-time high of 28 Bcf/d.
Demand for space heating in Texas spiked last week, and as a result, electricity and natural gas demand also surged. Since natural gas holds the biggest share of electricity generation in Texas, demand for natural gas further surged for those lucky enough to have their heating and lights on last week.
U.S. natural gas production, for its part, collapsed in Texas by 45 percent during the cold snap last week, primarily due to freeze-offs, the EIA said on Thursday, citing estimates from IHS Markit. Total U.S. dry natural gas production during the Freeze in Texas and much of the central part of the United States declined by 21 percent, to as low as 69.7 Bcf/d on February 17. Since the low in the middle of last week, natural gas production in Texas is nearly back to pre-Freeze levels.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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