EIA forecasts that natural gas inventories will reach 3,263 billion cubic feet (Bcf) at the end of October in its recently released October Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the lowest end-of-October level for U.S. natural gas inventories since 2005. Lingering cold temperatures in April 2018, the coldest April in the past 21 years, delayed the start of the natural gas storage refill season by about four weeks. Coupled with heavy natural gas withdrawals in January 2018, the delayed start to the refill season led to storage levels that have remained lower than the previous five-year minimum. However, late-season injections during the past four weeks have been close to their five-year averages, with injections averaging 81 Bcf compared with the five-year average of 82 Bcf.
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