U.S. natural gas storage capacity narrowly rises in 2016

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 169 views 

The amount of underground natural gas storage in the lower 48 states has slightly increase over the past three years, but the rise isn’t a result of new storage facilities.

Storage capacity rose to 4.68 trillion cubic feet in 2016, from 4.65 trillion cubic feet in 2015, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. “No new storage facilities have entered service since 2013, so recent annual changes in both storage design capacities and demonstrated maximum working gas volumes reflect the aggregate effect of small changes at existing facilities.”

The small change in storage capacity in the past three years “is likely a reflection of long-term trends, such as higher levels of natural gas production, the proximity of production to consuming markets in the Northeast and Midwest, and the lower price premium for natural gas during the winter. These trends may reduce reliance on storage as a source of supply during periods of elevated demand, such as during cold winter months.”

Data the EIA uses to measure natural gas storage capacity includes “design capacity and demonstrated working natural gas volume.” The previous is the “sum of the 385 active storage fields’ working gas design capacity as of November 2016.” Demonstrated working natural gas volume is “the sum of peak volumes reported by the 385 active storage facilities in the lower 48 states, regardless of when the individual field-level peaks occurred over the five-year reporting period.”

In Arkansas, the amount of underground natural gas storage rose 12% to 14.72 billion cubic feet in January 2017, from 13.03 billion cubic feet in the same month in 2016.