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East Bound and Down - Western Canada Gas Storage Faces Very Low Starting Point for Next Winter

Canadian gas storage levels concluded the most recent heating season at multi-year lows, especially in the western half of the nation, which hit a 16-year low at the end of March. Though storage sites have been refilling at a steady rate so far this summer, storage in the west, a region vitally important for balancing the North American gas market during high winter demand, remains unusually low for this time of year. In today’s RBN blog, we examine the latest developments in Canadian natural gas storage and explain why storage levels in Western Canada may start the next heating season at critically low levels.

This year’s gas storage refill season is garnering more attention than usual. From the distant storage sites scattered across Europe to those closer to home in the U.S. and Canada, making sure that there is enough gas in the ground for the next heating season has become an all-consuming focus after what were larger-than-average storage withdrawals, and lower-than-average storage levels by the end of the most recent winter heating season. Add the current heightened sensitivity to energy security and tracking how gas storage levels are rebuilding this year has become even more important.

Though seemingly distant from the natural gas market’s usual line of sight on U.S. storage, inventory levels in Canada after the most recent winter, especially in Western Canada, have been getting more headlines of late. Data from RBN’s Canadian NATGAS Billboard showed that storage levels in the eastern half of the nation fell to a three-year low (left-hand chart in Figure 1) at the end of March, while those in Western Canada fell to a 16-year low (right-hand chart).

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