Opinion

S&P Global Platts Survey of Analysts Suggests U.S. EIA Data to Show 1-Bcf Draw to Natural Gas Stocks


The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday is expected to report a 1-billion cubic feet (Bcf) withdrawal for the week that ended December 1, 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 pull of 14 Bcf to an injection of 7 Bcf. The EIA plans to release its weekly storage at 10:30 am EST on Thursday.

A 1 Bcf withdrawal would be very bearish compared to the 43 Bcf draw reported at this time in 2016 as well as the five-year average withdrawal of 69 Bcf.

A draw within analysts' expectations of 1 Bcf would shrink stocks to 3.692 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). It would decrease the deficit to the five-year average to a mere 39 Bcf and shift the deficit versus the corresponding week in 2016 to 267 Bcf.

For the week ended November 24 the EIA reported a 33 Bcf draw that reduced inventories to 3.693 Tcf, which was 7.7% less than the year-ago inventory of 4.002 Tcf, and 2.8% less than the five-year average of 3.800 Tcf.

The week was characterized by much warmer than normal temperatures which significantly reduced heating demand below normal levels for late November.

“In the large residential and commercial demand center of the Midwest, temperatures averaged 7 degrees above both normal and last week's temperatures at 44.1 degrees,” said Mitch DeRubis, quantitative modeling analyst with S&P Global Platts. “The warming corresponded to a decrease in estimated residential and commercial demand of 1.9 Bcf/d in the region compared to the previous week, the largest change in any single regional fundamental estimate over the course of the week.”

An additional 170 MMcf/d of production over the previous week's totals, coupled with an increase in net-inflows of more than 0.5 Bcf/d and decreased demand caused the large shift in implied activity estimates.

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. 

*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.



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