HOUSTON, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Working natural gas storage in the contiguous United States was 1,186 billion cubic feet (about 33.6 billion cubic meters) as of March 8, a net decrease of 204 billion cubic feet from the previous week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a report on Thursday.
The natural gas storage decreased by 23.2 percent from this time last year, or 32.4 percent below the five-year average, according to EIA's Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report.
Net withdrawal of 206 billion cubic feet for the lower 48 states last week was the largest value ever reported for March in the EIA's Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report.
According to EIA, the larger-than-normal withdrawals from storage were driven by the return of cold temperatures throughout large portions of the Lower 48 states, which increased heating demand for natural gas
Working natural gas is defined as the amount of natural gas stored underground that can be withdrawn for use.
Working natural gas storage capacity can be measured in two ways: design capacity and demonstrated maximum working gas capacity.
The contiguous United States consists of the 48 adjoining states of the United States, plus the District of Columbia, and excludes the non-contiguous states of Alaska and Hawaii, and all off-shore insular areas.