Prompt-month natural gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed on Friday at $2.953 per MMBtu, up $0.295 from the previous week. Average pricing for the balance of 2018 and calendar year 2019 was at $2.836 and $2.814 per MMBtu, respectively.
The Energy Information Administration reported a net withdrawal of 112 Bcf for the week ending December 22, compared to a five-year average decline of 111 Bcf and a year-ago draw of 233 Bcf. At 3,332 Bcf, total inventories are currently 85 Bcf below the benchmark five-year average and 62 Bcf behind year-ago levels.
Domestic natural gas production reached 76.8 Bcf per day for the seven-day period ending December 20, up 0.7 Bcf per day from the previous week and 7.7 Bcf per day ahead of the same period last year.
The residential & commercial sector led natural gas demand over the most recent week, averaging 36.8 Bcf per day compared to 51.2 Bcf per day during the same period last year. Natural gas export volumes were stable relative to the previous week but continue to demonstrate year-over-year growth.
Population-weighted heating degree days were 11.6% above average for the week ending December 29, and below-normal temperatures in the near-term forecast would continue to support incremental heating demand.