Prompt-month natural gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed on Friday at $2.591 per MMBtu, down $0.097 from the previous week. Average pricing for the balance of 2018 and calendar year 2019 was at $2.749 and $2.759 per MMBtu, respectively.
The Energy Information Administration reported a net withdrawal of 86 Bcf for the week ending March 16, compared to a five-year average decline of 52 Bcf and a year-ago draw of 136 Bcf. At 1,446 Bcf, total storage inventories are currently 329 Bcf below the benchmark five-year average and 667 Bcf behind year-ago levels.
Domestic natural gas production increased to 79.1 Bcf per day for the seven-day period ending March 21, up 0.4 Bcf per day from the previous week and 7.3 Bcf per day ahead of the same period last year.
The residential & commercial sector led natural gas demand over the most recent week, averaging 31.7 Bcf per day compared to 31.9 Bcf per day during the same period last year. Total natural gas export volumes were up from the previous week, led by gains of 0.1 Bcf per day in LNG sendout.
Population-weighted heating degree days were 7.4% above average for the week ending March 23. The 6-10 day weather outlook forecasts below-normal temperatures for key gas-consuming markets in the Midwest and Northeast U.S.