U.S. natural gas storage capacity increased slightly in 2016, the U.S.' Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced late Tuesday.
"U.S. underground natural gas storage capacity in the lower 48 states has changed by relatively small increments compared to the changes in 2012 and 2013," the EIA stated.
No new storage facilities have entered service since 2013, the EIA said.
"The relatively small change in natural gas storage capacity over the past three years can be considered as a reflection of long-term trends, such as higher levels of natural gas production, the proximity of production to consuming markets in the Northeast and Midwest, and the lower price premium for natural gas during the winter," the EIA underlined.
These trends may reduce reliance on storage as a source of supply during the cold winter months, the administration added.
The EIA has published updated estimates of storage capacity based on data for the end of November, which is approximately when storage levels reach their highest points for the year.
According to EIA, the administration uses two distinct measures of natural gas storage capacity: design capacity and demonstrated working natural gas volume.
Design capacity is based on the physical characteristics of the reservoir, installed equipment, and operating procedures particular on sites that are often certified by federal or state regulators.
"Design capacity increased slightly, growing 0.7 percent, from 4,658 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in November 2015 to 4,688 Bcf in November 2016," the administration stated.
Demonstrated maximum working gas volume is the sum of peak volumes reported by the 385 active storage facilities in the Lower 48 states, regardless of when the individual field-level peaks occurred over the five-year (60-month) reporting period ending November 2016.
Additionally, in the Lower 48 states, the demonstrated maximum working gas volume grew by 0.7 percent, from 4,342 Bcf in 2015 to 4,373 Bcf in 2016.
By Gulsen Cagatay