S&P Global Platts Survey of Analysts Suggests U.S. EIA Data to Show 109-Bcf Draw to Natural Gas Stocks

WASHINGTON - February 07, 2018

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday is expected to report a 109-billion cubic feet (Bcf) withdrawal for the week that ended February 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 88 Bcf to 124 Bcf. The EIA plans to release its weekly storage report at 10:30 am EDT on Thursday.

A 109 Bcf draw would be less than the 142 Bcf withdrawal reported at this time in 2017 as well as the five-year average pull of 151 Bcf.

A withdrawal within analysts’ expectations of 109 Bcf would deplete stocks to 2.088 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). The deficit versus the five-year average would shrink to 383 Bcf and the deficit versus last year in the corresponding week would contract to 495 Bcf.

The expected withdrawal is similar to the 99 Bcf draw reported by the EIA for the week ended January 26. It dropped inventories to 2.197 Tcf, which was 19.3% less than the year-ago inventory of 2.723 Tcf, and 16.2% less than the five-year average of 2.622 Tcf.

“The week ending February 2 seems likely to play out similar to the previous storage week,” said Kent Berthoud, storage analyst with S&P Global Platts. “But it seems likely the week will finish on a more bullish note than last week, helped by additional heating demand and liquefied natural gas exports adding an extra 8 Bcf for the week as a whole.”

The salt-dome storage facilities in the EIA’s South Central region began the year making massive withdrawals to meet the burst in demand that accompanied the cold weather. Now, with milder temperatures, the sample salt facilities have posted a net-injection for the second week in a row, once again almost entirely offsetting the withdrawals in the non-salt facilities.

The New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) March natural gas futures continued to tumble, losing 5 cents to $2.70/MMBtu ahead of what is expected to be another bearish storage estimate by the EIA.

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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