The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) natural gas storage data recorded a build of 54 Billion Cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ending April 14th.
This was the third successive weekly build and above consensus forecasts of an increase of 50 Bcf while the latest build was the largest for over five months.
The significant increase in stocks for the week illustrates that weather conditions will need to be substantially colder than normal to trigger a significant draw in stocks. There will also be concerns that the first significant build of the season came slightly earlier than last year.
Stocks overall are 14.8% below the year-ago figure, but 15.4% above the five-year average.
There was an increase in stocks across all regions on the week with South Central recording the largest gain.
Supplies remained tightest in the East with a 32.2% decline in stocks compared with last year and stocks are also 17.8% below the five-year average.
Gas prices have been subjected to choppy trading conditions this week with an overall downward bias, although there has been support above $3.10 per mBtu.
Weakness in energy markets undermined natural gas prices on Wednesday, especially with fragile risk conditions. Commodity prices overall have also remained generally vulnerable which has also had a negative impact.
The latest weather forecasts suggest there will be significantly cooler conditions from late this week which will boost gas demand to some extent, although the overall impact is likely to be limited at this time of year.
Prices overall held just below $3.20 ahead of the inventories data before dipping lower to the $3.16 area on release.