As temperatures begin to climb with early arrival of spring weather, EIA’s reported natural gas inventories registered their second, albeit modest, increase in as many weeks. National storage showed a 20 bcf build with the largest increase in the central-south region, bringing total stocks to 1,784 bcf or 1.3 percent below the five-year average.
Compared to 2020, stocks are down a more substantial 11.6 percent, but that comparison may be exaggerated as COVID-19 abruptly disrupted the world economy and travel last year. In the wake of the pandemic, the number of active rigs declined precipitously as prices across the energy complex (crude, distillates, and gas) plummeted to historic lows in 2020. Since then, a slow recovery seems to be anticipating a reopening and rebound. Rig counts are on the rise again, and most analysts forecast robust global GDP growth in 2021, helped by stimulus money and low interest rates.