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Natural gas storage draw expected to erase remaining surplus

The weekly natural gas inventory report to be released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration at 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 29, is expected to show another large withdrawal from stocks for the week to Dec. 23.

Analysts and traders surveyed ahead of the release of the upcoming EIA storage report anticipate a range of withdrawals from 219 Bcf to 240 Bcf, with the consensus expectation being a storage draw of 231 Bcf, above the previous week's surprise 209-Bcf drawdown, and well above the five-year average withdrawal of 80 Bcf and the 50-Bcf drawdown reported for the same week in 2015.

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Heating degree day data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the review week to Dec. 24 reflect supportive weather, outlining 40.4% more heating degree days compared to the same week last year and 1.0% more than normal for the week.

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In the previous week's data, the reported net 209-Bcf withdrawal from natural gas inventories in the Lower 48 during the week ended Dec. 16 surprised the market, coming in above expectations calling for a 200-Bcf withdrawal. The pull was above the 101-Bcf five-year-average withdrawal and the 33-Bcf pull reported for the same week in 2015.

Total working gas stocks were brought to 3,597 Bcf, or 226 Bcf below the same week in 2015 and 78 Bcf above the five-year average of 3,519 Bcf.

The injection anticipated in this week's data would result in a total working gas supply of 3,366 Bcf. The year-on-five-year-average surplus would turn to a 73-Bcf deficit, while the deficit to the year-ago level would widen to 407 Bcf.

Market prices and included industry data are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change. For more detailed market data, including power, natural gas index prices, as well as forwards and futures, visit our Commodities Pages.