Natural-Gas Prices Hit 1-Year High as Heating Season Begins

Storage Levels Drop, But Still Above Average

Benchmark U.S. natural-gas prices rose to the highest levels in over a year as cooler weather led to the first storage draw-down of the winter heating season, the Energy Information Administration said.

Henry Hub gas as of November 14 was $3.66 per million British thermal units, up 19 cents from a week earlier and the highest price since October 2011. In NYMEX futures trading November 15, gas for December delivery fell 5.7 cents to $3.703, up 5.7% from $3.503 at the end of last week.

Total U.S. gas demand rose 0.4% during the week ended November 14 compared to the previous week, led by a gain of 2.8% in residential and commercial consumption. Temperatures in the lower 48 U.S. states averaged 48 degrees Fahrenheit, about 1.6 degrees below the 30-year average for the period.

Working gas in underground storage decreased to 3.911 trillion cubic feet as of November 9, a withdrawal of 18 billion cubic feet from the previous week, when inventories hit a record high. Supplies are still 1.8% above last year’s levels and 5.6% higher than the five-year average for that date.

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