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Falling far short of market expectations, the United States added only 18 billion cubic feet into its natural gas inventories for the week ending August 12, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted in its weekly natural gas inventory report on Thursday.
The low injection rate for the week, compared to expectations of around 30 Bcf, pushed natural gas futures up early on Thursday, according to Natural Gas Intelligence.
Heading into the fall and winter, this is a comparatively low injection rate. During the same week last year, the inventories gained 46 Bcf.
Recently, U.S. natural gas futures have been gaining significant ground at highs surpassing anything seen in well over a decade due to increased momentum in exports that could leave the country short of supplies.
Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that U.S. supplies are still more than 10% below normal levels for this time of year.
Natural gas futures had slipped somewhat earlier in the week as traders calculated the supply was recovering, ahead of the EIA’s Thursday report.
Overall, natural gas prices have remained highly volatile throughout the year.
On Monday, U.S. natural gas futures slipped. On Tuesday, they surged 7%. On Wednesday, prices rose to fresh highs but closed with slight losses.
On Thursday, at the time of writing, U.S. natural gas futures were trading up around 0.80%, shortly after the EIA’s inventory release.
The EIA also noted on Thursday that natural gas exports from Texas into Mexico have increased significantly, based on the most recent data from May 2022. During May, exports from pipelines in West Texas heading to Mexico averaged 1.6 billion cubic feet per day. That is a record level and represents a 12% increase from January through May.
Increases in exports for West Texas to Mexico have doubled since 2019.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com