S&P Global Platts Survey of Analysts Suggests U.S. EIA Data to Show 104-Bcf Build to Natural Gas Stocks

WASHINGTON - May 16, 2018

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday is expected to report a 104-billion cubic feet (Bcf) injection for the week ended May 11, 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 build of 98 Bcf to 122 Bcf. The EIA plans to release its weekly storage report on Thursday morning. For the second week in a row, US storage is expected to post another larger-than-average build as May proves to be a crucial month for fields to rebuild inventories and reduce the massive storage deficit.

A 104 Bcf injection would be more than the 64 Bcf build in the corresponding week last year and the five-year average build of 67 Bcf.

An injection within analysts’ expectations of 104 Bcf would increase stocks to 1.536 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). The deficit versus the five-year average would shrink to 503 Bcf and the deficit versus last year in the corresponding week would contract to 824 Bcf.

The EIA reported an 89 Bcf injection for the week ended May 4. It increased inventories to 1.432 Tcf, which was 37.6% less than the year-ago inventory of 2.295 Tcf, and 37.6% less than the five-year average of 1.952 Tcf.

"Considering that April only added an estimated 31 Bcf to US stocks, one-fifth as much as the previous five-year minimum, the Lower 48 is entering injection season at a significant deficit," said Kent Berthoud, storage analyst with S&P Global Platts. "As a result, May will be crucial for rebuilding inventories while mid-range temperatures keep a lid on gas-fired power generation and eat away at residential and commercial demand."

Weather came in warmer across the board last week, increasing at least 4 degrees in every storage region, and almost 10 degrees in the Mountain region.

However, demand is up for the storage week in progress. An early estimate for the week ending May 18 indicates a build of 76 Bcf, which is 1 Bcf less than the five-year average. Storage for the week ending May 25 is also expected to be several Bcf less than the average as well.

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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