S&P Global Platts Survey of Analysts Suggests U.S. EIA Data to Show 79-Bcf Draw to Natural Gas Stocks

WASHINGTON - February 28, 2018

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday is expected to report a 79-billion cubic feet (Bcf) withdrawal for the week that ended February 23, 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 72 Bcf to 86 Bcf. The EIA plans to release its weekly storage report at 10:30 am EDT on Thursday.

A 79 Bcf draw would be much more than the 7 Bcf withdrawal reported at this time in 2017 but less than the five-year average pull of 118 Bcf.

A withdrawal within analysts’ expectations of 79 Bcf would deplete stocks to 1.681 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). The deficit versus the five-year average would shrink to 373 Bcf and the deficit versus last year in the corresponding week would expand to 681 Bcf.

Last Thursday the EIA reported a draw of 124 Bcf for the week ended February 16. It dropped inventories to 1.760 Tcf, which was 25.7% less than the year-ago inventory of 2.369 Tcf, and 19% less than the five-year average of 2.172 Tcf.

Total U.S. demand was down 32 Bcf due to milder temperatures across the eastern half of the U.S., while exports were down 7 Bcf week over week due to lower flows to Sabine Pass LNG export terminal.

“Population-weighted temperatures in the Midwest warmed the most week over week, increasing 9 degrees,” said Kent Berthoud, storage analyst with S&P Global Platts. “However, weekly inventory for fields in the Pacific region saw the largest change, doubling from a 7.4 to 12.2 Bcf withdrawal. The big withdrawal, especially relative to the Pacific region’s size, was in response to uncharacteristically cold temperatures throughout the West that pushed Socal City Gates basis for delivery on Feb 21 to $16.97/MMBtu – twice the previous record. Every field reported gains to meet the 15% increase in demand, led by the Southern California Gas Company system, which grew 2.8 Bcf for the week.”

The demand in the Pacific prompted SoCal Gas to make multiple draws from the Aliso Canyon storage facility, which the state has deemed only to be used as a “last resort.”

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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