S&P Global Platts Survey of Analysts Suggests U.S. EIA Data to Show 25-Bcf Drawdown to Natural Gas Stocks

WASHINGTON - April 18, 2018

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday is expected to report a 25-billion cubic feet (Bcf) withdrawal for the week that ended April 13, 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 were tight and ranged for a withdrawal of 20 Bcf to 33 Bcf. The EIA plans to release its weekly storage report at 10:30 am EST on Thursday.

A 25 Bcf draw would be very bullish compared to last year in the corresponding week which featured a 47 Bcf injection and the five-year average of a 38 Bcf injection.

A withdrawal within analysts’ expectations of 25 Bcf would deplete stocks to 1.310 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). The deficit versus the five-year average would grow to 438 Bcf and the deficit versus last year in the corresponding week would expand to 797 Bcf.

The EIA reported a 19 Bcf net-withdrawal for the week ended April 6. It dropped inventories to 1.335 Tcf, which was 35.2% less than the year-ago inventory of 2.060 Tcf, and 21.9% less than the five-year average of 1.710 Tcf.

"The weather across the US has remained consistently low, despite the start of spring,” said Kent Berthoud, storage analyst with S&P Global Platts. "Population-weighted temperatures in the EIA's Midwest were 11 degrees below normal, and another 7 degrees below normal in the East and South Central, continuing to bolster heating demand. In the past five years the East and Midwest have seen withdrawals for the second week of April, but this would be the latest net-withdrawal for the total US going back as far as the EIA's data which stretches back to 2010."

Analysts differ whether or not the week ending April 20 will feature a small net withdrawal or injection. Early estimates show from an 11 Bcf draw to a 4 Bcf injection. Either way, stocks need to replace 2.52 Tcf to get back to the five-year average for the start of the next heating season. Last year storage added 1.737 Tcf during injection season.

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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