S&P Global Platts Survey of Analysts Suggests U.S. EIA Data to Show 59-Bcf Draw to Natural Gas Stocks

WASHINGTON - March 07, 2018

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday is expected to report a 59-billion cubic feet (Bcf) withdrawal for the week that ended March 2, 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 49 Bcf to 69 Bcf. The EIA plans to release its weekly storage report at 10:30 am EDT on Thursday.

A 59 Bcf draw would be in line with the 57 Bcf withdrawal reported at this time in 2017 but much less than the five-year average pull of 129 Bcf.

A withdrawal within analysts’ expectations of 59 Bcf would deplete stocks to 1.623 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). The deficit versus the five-year average would shrink to 302 Bcf and the deficit versus last year in the corresponding week would expand slightly to 682 Bcf.

Last Thursday the EIA reported a draw of 78 Bcf for the week ended February 23. It dropped inventories to 1.682 Tcf, which was 28.8% less than the year-ago inventory of 2.362 Tcf, and 18.1% less than the five-year average of 2.054 Tcf.

Another mild week of winter has passed, with US-level population weighted temperatures averaging 48 degrees, or 1 degree more than the previous week.

“A 7-Bcf injection in the South Central regions’ salt-dome sample just barely offset the 6 Bcf withdrawal in the depleted fields, resulting in the first sample net-injection of 1 Bcf for the year,” said Kent Berthoud, storage analyst with S&P Global Platts. “South Central inventories reached record lows in January as a result of the sharp cold snap, but the mild temperatures that followed have brought it back from the brink. This week’s estimate would bring inventories to 611 Bcf, 174 Bcf above the minimum inventories for this time of year.”

The Mountain region as a whole has been reporting record withdrawals for this time of year, driven by a 468 Bcf year-to-date increase in outflows to the west. Inventories as of the last storage week stand at 102 Bcf, 5 Bcf less than the previous minimum. This week’s estimate of a 9 Bcf draw would be another five-year record for March 2, increasing the deficit to the previous minimum by 1 Bcf.

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. 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

Kathleen Tanzy, + 1 917 331 4607, kathleen.tanzy@spglobal.com

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