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Data show plenty of natural gas in storage for winter weather

The country is expected to begin this winter with plenty of natural gas in its pantry, with some firms anticipating record high levels.

That’s good news for those who rely on the fuel for heating and electricity. But that excess supply could be bad news for drillers and others who are being hit hard by low commodity prices.

According to Bloomberg data, gas inventories could hit new highs by the start of the heating season on Nov. 1.

“If injections for the rest of this year track 2014 levels, storage may come close to 4.3 trillion cubic feet, more than 300 billion cubic feet above earlier highs,” Bloomberg said.

That will keep natural gas prices low for the short term, even as new sources of demand arise, including exports of liquefied natural gas that are slated to begin from the Gulf of Mexico.

“We are trending toward all-time highs,” said Jeff Moore, senior energy analyst for Colorado-based analytics firm Bentek Energy.

As of July 17, the most recent data available, U.S. storage inventories were at 2.8 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), after a net increase of 61 billion cubic feet (Bcf) from the previous week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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