The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports today that working natural gas in storage rose 91 bcf over the previous week to a total of 2,438 bcf. Increases were led by injections of 60 bcf in the Eastern region with the Southern Producing region adding 20 bcf of its own. Current storage levels remain 559 below year-ago and 47 bcf below the five year average.
Front-month July natural gas opened today at $3.95 and continues to pivot around $3.91 with sporadic trader activity.
According to EIA, natural gas use for industrial purposes was more than 3%, or 0.6 billion cubic feet per day, greater during the first five months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. Higher industrial gas usage reflects recent economic gains and sustained, historically low natural gas prices that have provided operators of natural gas-intensive industrial facilities in the United States a cost advantage relative to competing facilities that rely on higher-cost energy sources.
The real, inflation-adjusted price of natural gas is currently low by historic standards, and the price of natural gas to industrial consumers is typically close to the spot price because of their large purchasing power and regularity of consumption. If natural gas prices remain low, the industrial sector is poised to grow, and existing industrial natural gas consumers stand to become increasingly competitive both here and abroad.