S&P Global Platts Survey of Analysts Suggests U.S. EIA Data to Show 87-Bcf Draw to Natural Gas Stocks

WASHINGTON - March 21, 2018

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday is expected to report an 87-billion cubic feet (Bcf) withdrawal for the week that ended March 16, 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 77 Bcf to 95 Bcf. The EIA plans to release its weekly storage report at 10:30 am EDT on Thursday.

An 87 Bcf draw would be less than the 137 Bcf withdrawal reported at this time in 2017 but more than the five-year average pull of 53 Bcf.

A withdrawal within analysts’ expectations of 87 Bcf would deplete stocks to 1.445 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). The deficit versus the five-year average would expand to 330 Bcf and the deficit against 2017 in the corresponding week would contract to 668 Bcf.

The withdrawal is expected to be slightly less than the 93 Bcf draw reported by the EIA for the week ended March 9. It dropped inventories to 1.532 Tcf, which was 31.9% less than the year-ago inventory of 2.250 Tcf, and 16.2% less than the five-year average of 1.828 Tcf. It was also the fourth consecutive draw to register below the five-year average.

Although the storage withdrawal season typically ends during the first week in April, early forecasts show net withdrawals continuing through the week ending April 13, providing at least one extra pull than usual before the flip to injection season.

An early forecast for the week ending March 23 calls for a 53 Bcf withdrawal, according to Platts Analytics. This would further expand the storage deficit versus the five-year average to 336 Bcf with three more withdrawals likely remaining before season’s end.

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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