While big, the 105 bcf injection reported by the EIA on Thursday does not materially change this summer’s natural gas outlook.
The Energy Informational Administration reported that storage operators injected 105 billion cubic feet into storage in the week ending May 20, 2011. That's above analyst estimates, which were calling for an injection between 93 and 95 bcf, but close to some pipeline scrape models that saw a build in the 102 to 103 bcf range. While last week’s injection was large by any measure, it was near the 104 bcf build of a year ago, and only modestly higher than the 97 bcf five-year average.
Using the EIA’s weekly data set, inventories remain 245 bcf below the year-ago level and 72 bcf below the five-year average.
Natural gas prices moved a bit lower after the release of the latest inventory figures, though they remain firmly within the recent low-to-mid-$4’s consolidation range they’ve been in.
Weather last week was extremely mild, but a couple weeks from now, things should start to heat up. According to the Edison Electric Institute, 68,743 GWH of electricity was generated last week, or 3.2 percent below last year.