"Working gas in storage was 1,443 Bcf as of Friday, February 14, 2014, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decline of 250 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 975 Bcf less than last year at this time and 741 Bcf below the 5-year average of 2,184 Bcf. In the East Region, stocks were 364 Bcf below the 5-year average following net withdrawals of 129 Bcf. Stocks in the Producing Region were 277 Bcf below the 5-year average of 806 Bcf after a net withdrawal of 91 Bcf. Stocks in the West Region were 100 Bcf below the 5-year average after a net drawdown of 30 Bcf. At 1,443 Bcf, total working gas is below the 5-year historical range."
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that supplies of natural gas dropped 250 billion cubic feet for the week ended Feb. 14. The drop was within market expectations as analysts surveyed by Platts forecast a decline of between 248 billion cubic feet and 252 billion cubic feet.
It was no surprise to see a quick retreat in natural-gas prices, “but the overall storage picture is worsening, with tight conditions and risks of more price spikes over the next few weeks,” said Richard Hastings, a macro strategist at Global Hunter Securities.
For now, the “CME will continue to throw the wet blanket on natgas speculation,” he said, adding that the CME “just hiked margin requirements again.”
The CME Group Inc. late Wednesday increased performance bond requirements for natural-gas futures contracts. Initial margins for the benchmark for speculators will increase to $6,050 from $5,500 per contract, effective as of the close of business Thursday, while maintenance margins will rise to $5,500 from $5,000 per contract.
[Emphasis added by poster as to both sources cited.]
Continued volatility (probably through the beginning of injection season), although markets are ramping up efforts to stem speculative-based movements. Current plots indicate matching or nearing ten-year lows in storage. However, eastern and then national stores of natural gas should not take long to rebound after injection starts as Marcellus production is well over 12 bcf now.
Somewhat non sequitur: Current line vs. five-year range - wow.