The National Energy Board (NEB) says that due to a cold winter this year, natural gas inventories remain below the 5-year average heading into the summer season.
The NEB explains that generally, production of natural gas is steady throughout the year, while demand fluctuates with the seasons. Gas is typically injected into storage between April and October when demand is lower, and then withdrawn as needed between November and March to help meet higher demand in the winter months.
“The [2017/2018] winter was colder, for longer, resulting in higher natural gas demand and more reliance on storage to meet this demand. Despite steady production of natural gas in Canada and record high production in the United States, cold temperatures contributed to maintaining storage inventories in Canada slightly below the 5-year average,” the NEB said.
“With the start of the injection season on 1 April 2018, Canadian natural gas storage inventories totaled approximately 315 billion cubic feet, approximately 4 percent below the 5-year average. Due to below average temperatures in April, natural gas storage injections rates were below average. By mid-May, storage inventories in Canada totaled 336 billion cubic feet, 13 percent below average. Canadian inventories receded below the five-year average in April 2018, breaking a trend of above-average inventories held since October 2015.”
Most underground storage facilities in Canada are depleted oil and gas fields that have been repurposed to store natural gas, the NEB says. Gas is also stored in salt dome facilities, which are underground salt caverns. Salt dome storage accounts for only 2% of the underground storage capacity in Canada.