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April 15, 2022

The United States ended the winter with the least natural gas in storage in three years

lower 48 states natural gas inventories
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Monthly and Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report
Note: We estimated end-of-month values for February and March from the Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report.

Increased heating demand for natural gas this past winter resulted in more withdrawals from U.S. natural gas storage than normal. By the end of March, the least amount of natural gas was held in U.S underground storage in the Lower 48 states since 2019.

In January, temperatures across the country were colder than normal, which increased residential, commercial, and electric power demand for natural gas. More heating demand and record-high liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports resulted in above-average withdrawals from working natural gas storage despite increased natural gas production.

Working natural gas in underground storage facilities in the Lower 48 states totaled 1,387 billion cubic feet (Bcf) as of March 31, 2022. Inventories were 17% lower than the previous five-year average (2017–21) for that time of year, according to our Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report.

weekly heating degree days in Lower 48 states
Source: Graph by U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Temperatures were relatively mild across the United States from October through mid-January. Net withdrawals from underground storage facilities in the Lower 48 states during January totaled 991 Bcf—the most natural gas withdrawn from storage during any January since 2012. In January 2022, population-weighted heating degree days (a measure of how cold weather is) were 9% higher than the previous 10-year average, which led to higher-than-normal withdrawals in January.

Principal contributor: Jose Villar