US natural gas storage begins spring build
The build of US natural gas storage picked up pace as expected last week with a storage build of 82 Bcf according to EIA data released Thursday. This brought storage to 981 Bcf which is 44.6% of last year’s level and 50.1% of the five year average. However, if the non-winter year of 2012 is stripped out of the five year data current storage levels more realistically reflect a level around 58% of the trailing average. While still down substantially this gives a much better benchmark for comparison than the distorted average including 2012 volumes which were 2,478 Bcf the first week of April 2012.
The 82 Bcf fill is well within our estimates for the week. The next four to six weeks will be crucial in bringing natural gas storage back towards more normalized levels. It will be interesting to follow the progress of the rebuild so stay tuned.
Bio-mass based diesel products set new US import record
While all the news in the petroleum industry is about the US exports of petroleum products (see this week’s report), crude oil and LNG the level of US imports of bio-mass based diesel has expanded sharply. The EIA released the data for 2013 today that showed imports now constitute roughly 70% of US bio-massed based diesel.
The United States imports two varieties of biomass-based diesel fuel—biodiesel and renewable diesel. Last year, total U.S. imports of these two varieties of biomass-based diesel fuel reached 525 million gallons, compared to 61 million gallons in 2012. Two principal factors drove the increase in U.S. biodiesel imports: growth in domestic biodiesel demand to satisfy renewable fuels targets, and increased access to biodiesel from other countries. As a result, the United States switched from being a net exporter of biomass-based diesel in 2012 to a net importer in 2013 by a wide margin.