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Slide 18 of 27

Underground Storage

Working gas in underground storage is headed for a 4-year high at the end of October. With storage levels high and substantial wellhead productive capacity, natural gas supplies are anticipated to be more than adequate to meet demand this winter.

Stocks at the beginning of the heating season (November 1) are expected to exceed 3.1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). This is more than 9 percent above last year’s level and well above the normal range.

Assuming normal weather conditions, net withdrawals from storage will be more than 2.1 Tcf during the 5 month natural gas heating season which ends on March 31. This is significantly above the 1.7 Bcf that was withdrawn during last year’s unseasonably warm winter.

Despite the greater reliance on storage this winter, working gas on hand at the end of March is projected to be over
1,000 Bcf, noticeably below the 1,184 Bcf of working gas remaining at the end of the 1997/98 heating season but well above the previous low of 760 Bcf in 1996.

Under severe weather conditions, stocks would be used more heavily with withdrawals of 2.5 Tcf and ending season stock levels falling below the normal range.