S&P Global Platts Survey of Analysts Suggests U.S. EIA Data to Show 219-Bcf Draw to Natural Gas Stocks

WASHINGTON - January 03, 2018

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday is expected to report a 219-billion cubic feet (Bcf) withdrawal for the week that ended December 29, according to a survey of analysts by S&P Global Platts, the leading independent provider of information and benchmark prices for the commodities and energy markets.

Responses to the survey ranged for a withdrawal of 205 Bcf to 228 Bcf. The EIA plans to release its weekly storage at 10:30 am EDT on Thursday.

A 219 Bcf draw would be almost three times more than the 76 Bcf withdrawal reported at this time in 2016 and more than double the five-year average pull of 99 Bcf. This would be the third consecutive draw to exceed the five-year average.

A draw within analysts’ expectations of 219 Bcf would deplete stocks to 3.113 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). It would increase the deficit to both the five-year average and the corresponding week in 2016 to 205 Bcf.

For the week ended December 22 the EIA reported a 112 Bcf draw that dropped inventories to 3.332 Tcf, which was 1.8% less than the year-ago inventory of 3.394 Tcf, and 2.5% less than the five-year average of 3.417 Tcf.

Week over week, temperatures across much of the U.S. dipped into a deep freeze. The major residential and commercial demand centers of the upper Midwest and the Northeast plummeted by an average of 20 degrees and 6 degrees, respectively.

“The largest week-over-week changes in storage activity, by far, are expected for the Midwest and South Central regions, which are estimated to have withdrawn 41 and 48 Bcf more, respectively, compared to the previous week’s EIA estimates,” said Mitch DeRubis, quantitative modeling analyst, S&P Global Platts.

The Midwest and South Central regions alone are expected to comprise about 150 Bcf of the entire withdrawal.

The 14-day forecast suggests even more massive withdrawals for the weeks ending January 5 and January 12, which will both exceed the five-year average as well. In fact, a pull of more than 330 Bcf is expected for the week ending January 5 as the U.S. is hitting record levels of natural gas demand. This would be the largest weekly storage withdrawal ever recorded as the current record is 288 Bcf set in January 2014.

The weekly analyst survey is conducted by S&P Global Platts’ editorial team, and is published every Wednesday, one day ahead of the 10:30 a.m. (ET) Thursday release of the weekly natural gas storage report of the U.S. Energy Information Administration. S&P Global Platts has been conducting this survey since January 2007. The survey includes 15 to 25 analysts, some on a rotational basis.

Note:In its weekly natural gas report, the EIA divides the U.S. into five storage regions: East, Midwest, South Central, Mountain and Pacific. The full listing of the states that comprise each can be found here.

Kathleen Tanzy, + 1 917 331 4607,

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