WASHINGTON (January 31, 2018) – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday is expected to report a 103-billion cubic-feet (Bcf) withdrawal for the week that ended January 26, 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 87 Bcf to 119 Bcf. The EIA plans to release its weekly storage at 10:30 am EDT on Thursday.
A 103-Bcf-draw to stocks would be more than the 92 Bcf withdrawal reported at this time in 2017 but less than the five-year average pull of 160 Bcf.
A withdrawal within analysts’ expectations of 103 Bcf would deplete stocks to 2.193 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). The deficit versus the five-year average would shrink to 429 Bcf and the deficit versus last year in the corresponding week would expand to 530 Bcf.
The expected withdrawal is much smaller than the 288 Bcf draw reported by the EIA for the week ended January 19, which was tied for the second largest storage pull on record. It dropped inventories to 2.296 Tcf, which was 18.4% less than the year-ago inventory of 2.815 Tcf, and 17.5% less than the five-year average of 2.782 Tcf.
“The most significant portion of the change week over week was in the South Central region where sample activity decreased from a 66 Bcf draw, to barely registering a net-withdrawal at all,” said Kent Berthoud, quantitative modeling analyst, S&P Global Platts. “The Southeast and Texas warmed up 13 and 18 degrees, respectively, weakening demand and pushing sample salt-dome activity into a net-injection of 15.4 Bcf that cancelled out the majority of non-salt activity.”
The South Central region as a whole is only expected to post a 16 Bcf withdrawal as opposed to the 122 Bcf draw estimated by the EIA last week.
The NYMEX March natural gas futures tumbled 21 cents to $2.98/MMBtu ahead of what is expected to be a 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.