Total US demand averaged 82.2 Bcf/d this week, down 17 Bcf/d from the previous week as average temperatures were down by approximately 10 degrees Fahrenheit compared to record cold temperatures and demand seen last week. The largest decline in demand was seen in the ResComm sector, down 13.2 Bcf/d week over week, driven by declines in the Northeast and Midwest. Total Demand fluctuated through the week, bouncing around the high-70 to low-80 Bcf/d range in the first half of the week before spiking into the mid- to high-80 Bcf/d range on Wednesday and Thursday. Estimates show that US-wide storage inventories sit at 2,045 Bcf on March 24, 415 Bcf below the same date last year but 247 Bcf above the five-year average for March 24. Total US supply came in at 76.7 Bcf/d, 0.7 Bcf/d lower than the previous week due to declines in both dry gas production and imports from Canada. Dry production averaged 70.6 Bcf/d on the week, down 0.3 Bcf/d from the previous week driven by declines in the Southeast and Northeast. Net imports from Canada also fell down 0.4 Bcf/d this week as a 0.6 Bcf/d decline in volumes into the Northeast was somewhat offset by a 0.2 Bcf/d increase in volumes moving into the Midwest.
West demand has increased steadily throughout this week - rising 150 MMcf/d day-on-day to 9.0 Bcf/d March 24 - but is forecast to fall tomorrow to 8.65 Bcf/d Saturday, March 25, a decline of 0.38 Bcf/d from evening cycle estimates for gas day 24. The day-on-day drop in demand is a result of Southwest temps returning to near-normal, after declining from 63.8 degrees Fahrenheit March 20 to 56.4 degrees F just two days after. The two-week forecast continues to show even warmer temps by the turn of the month, bring West demand to a low of 7.82 Bcf/d Sunday, April 2; contending with the winter-to-date low of 7.72 Bcf/d set on Sunday, March 12. Further pressuring gas this weekend, a Pacific Storm is forecast to bring wind and snow to Northern California and the Columbia River basin, adding downside risk to power burn given the that several river gauges in the Northwest are already above flood-level marks, bringing elevated hydro generation.
Nuclear outages in the Southeast and Texas have doubled over the past week as outage season ramps up to its highest level over the next few weeks. Outages in the Gulf Coast have grown to over 10 GW over the past few days after fluctuating between 5-6 GW over the first half of the month. The recent increase has been led by Watts Bar 1 and 2 going offline, each with capacity of 1,270 MW, along with Turkey Point 3, South Texas 1, and Brunswick 2. This is the highest outage level experienced between the two regions on this date since 2013, when outages totaled 11 GW. Over the past five years, outages over the second half of March have averaged 8.4 GW, meaning the ramp-up in outages over the last few days equates to roughly 0.4 Bcf/d of incremental natural gas burn assuming all lost generation is replaced by natural gas with a heat rate of 8.5 MMBtu/MWh. Comanche Peak, McGuire, and VC Summer are expected to go offline over the next two weeks, adding short-term upside to regional power burn.