Natural gas stockpiles recover

After hitting a historic low in early spring, natural gas storage levels in the United States have recovered to a volume near their five-year average.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Friday that natural gas storage was at 3.571 trillion cubic feet at the end of October, which marked the end of the season when the industry injects natural gas into storage facilities.

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Gas storage levels started the season April 1 at their lowest level in 11 years, 1 trillion cubic feet below the five-year average, the EIA said in the Friday report. The agency blamed the low reserves on a long, abnormally cold winter that strained supplies.

But the injection season was significantly better than usual and set a new record, the EIA said.

“Although the refill season began slowly in April, injections quickly ramped up and exceeded five-year average levels for 28 weeks in a row,” it said.

The high injections came thanks to low natural gas prices, driven by lower than usual demand from the electricity sector and the boom in domestic production.

The EIA believes next year’s injection season will start with better stockpiles than last year, because the winter weather is forecast to be much more mild.