Prompt-month natural gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed on Friday at $2.795 per MMBtu, down $0.158 from the previous week. Average pricing for the balance of 2018 and calendar year 2019 was at $2.748 and $2.760 per MMBtu, respectively.
The Energy Information Administration reported a net withdrawal of 206 Bcf for the week ending December 29, compared to a five-year average decline of 99 Bcf and a year-ago draw of 76 Bcf. A 3,126 Bcf, total inventories are currently 192 Bcf below the benchmark five-year average and 192 Bcf behind year-ago levels.
Domestic natural gas production fell to 74.0 Bcf per day for the seven-day period ending January 3, down 2.9 Bcf per day from the previous week but still 3.2 Bcf per day ahead of the same period last year.
The residential & commercial sector led natural gas demand over the most recent week, averaging 64.4 Bcf per day compared to 35.3 Bcf per day during the same period last year. Total gas consumption reached an all-time record high of 150.7 Bcf on January 1, as extreme cold across much of the U.S. drove increased heating demand.
Population-weighted heating degree days were 23.5% above average for the week ending January 5. Following a period of mild weather in the immediate near term, below-normal temperatures are forecast to return inn the 6-10 day period.