Platts Pre-report Survey of Analysts Suggests U.S. EIA Data will Show an Addition to Natural Gas Stocks of 78 Bcf to 82 Bcf

Washington - October 16, 2013

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday is expected to report a net addition to natural gas storage between 78 billion cubic feet (Bcf) and 82 Bcf for the week ended October 18, according to a Platts survey of analysts.

An addition to stocks within those expectations would be larger than the 67-Bcf build in the same week last year and higher than the five-year-average injection of 68 Bcf, according to EIA data.

The wider range of analysts' expectations spanned from an injection of 70 Bcf to one of 87 Bcf.

EIA reported on Tuesday a build of 77 Bcf, lifting overall inventories to 3.654 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) for the week ended October 11. The report was delayed due to the partial federal government shutdown.

Platts unit Bentek Energy's supply/demand model predicts an 86-Bcf injection for the week ended October 18, while its pipeline flow model anticipates an 80-Bcf addition. Bentek is the natural gas and oil analytics unit of Platts, acquired in 2011.

William Featherston, an analyst at UBS who is forecasting an injection of 75 Bcf to 85 Bcf, said the weather during the week ended October 18 was 58% warmer than the comparable week in 2012 and 30% warmer than the five-year average.

He said the market has been oversupplied with gas by about 700,000 million cubic feet per day (/d) versus the five-year average and 2.2 Bcf/d compared with last year on a weather-adjusted basis.

Featherston also expects storage stocks to start the winter season at 3.81 Tcf on November 1, compared with a five-year average of 3.76 Tcf.

"Thursday's number offers an interesting perspective. Last week contained higher natural gas prices as well as more heating demand than the week before," said Gelber & Associates analyst Aaron Calder. "We'll see if mid-October heating demand is enough to counteract a loss of power generation demand to coal."

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