Natural gas rose in New York after frigid weather this month forced utilities to pull more of the fuel from underground storage caverns and aquifers.
The surplus of stored gas dropped by almost half this month, when compared with the five-year average, government data showed. Stockpiles stood 21% higher than the average as of 1 February. That margin had slipped to 11% at the end of last week.
“The reduction in inventories has put upward pressure on the gas price,” said Kenneth Yeasting, an analyst with Cambridge Energy Research Associates in Detroit. “The first three weeks of February were significantly colder than normal. There could be firmness in price” because of the dwindling supply surplus, Yeasting said.
Gas for March delivery rose 3 cents, or 0.4%, to $7.785 per million British thermal units at 9:01 a m on the New York Mercantile Exchange.The price has gained 3.8 % in the past week. The March contract expires after today’s floor trading session.
Weekly inventory withdrawals have outpaced seasonal norms in each of the last three weeks. Utilities, gas storage companies and manufacturers have caused declines of 224 billion, 259 billion and 223 billion cubic feet. The all-time record drop for a single week is 260 billion from the week ended 17 January,1997, according to the Energy Department.Last week’s drop of 223 billion cubic feet expanded the inventory deficit versus last year to 14 %. As recently as 1 February, gas stocks were 6.3 % higher than a year ago.