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Natural Gas Supplies Declined Less Than Average, Forecasts Show

Natural gas inventories declined by less than average last week as mild weather reduced demand for the heating fuel, analyst forecasts compiled by Bloomberg show.

Stockpiles fell by 124 billion cubic feet to 2.403 trillion in the seven days ended Feb. 15, based on the median of 16 estimates. The five-year average stockpile change for the period is a decline of 140 billion, according to the Energy Information Administration, an arm of the Energy Department. Last year, supplies fell 155 billion cubic feet that week.

Temperatures were above normal from the Northeast to the Midwest last week and seasonal across most of the other lower-48 states, according to Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. A gas surplus versus the five-year average has expanded since the end of November as moderate weather reduced demand for the heating fuel.

“We had some mild temperatures last week and it’s going to show up in the inventory number,” Aaron Calder, senior market analyst at Gelber & Associates in Houston. “There are tons of gas in the market and the demand response is struggling to keep up with it, which is why we are having less than stellar withdrawals.”

Stockpile estimates were for decreases ranging from 116 billion to 129 billion cubic feet. The EIA’s weekly supply report is scheduled for release at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow in Washington.

Gas inventories during the week of Feb. 8 were 16 percent above the five-year average for the period, up from 4.6 percent on Nov. 30, EIA data show.

Natural gas futures this week have risen 12.6 cents, or 4 percent, to 3.279 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are down 2.1 percent this year.

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