Natural gas in storage fell 18 billion cubic feet in the November 10 week to 3,772 bcf. The first weekly decline after 32 consecutive weekly increases signals the traditional start of the heating season, when weekly drawdowns are the norm. The decrease contrasts with a 30 bcf increase in the same week a year ago and a 6 bcf average increase during the corresponding week in the last 5 years, while taking natural gas stocks to a level 6.7 percent lower than last year's exceptionally high, mild-winter-bloated inventories and 2.6 percent below 5-year average for this time of year.
Storage levels have indicated a gradual tightening in the natural gas market since late August, when stocks first fell below the 5-year average. However, stocks remain well within the 5-year range for the period, and while prices did rise about 20 cents in November to around $3.00 per MMBTu, they are 23 percent below this year's highs set at the start of the year and have responded only feebly to the tightening.