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Survey points to bigger, above-average natural gas storage pull

The weekly natural gas inventory report to be released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration at 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, Jan. 19, is expected to show another step higher in the rate of storage erosion.

Analysts and traders surveyed ahead of the release of the upcoming EIA storage report anticipate a 216-Bcf to 251-Bcf storage withdrawal, with the consensus expectation being a withdrawal of 236 Bcf, well above the previous week's withdrawal of 151 Bcf, the five-year average drawdown of 170 Bcf and sharply above the 175-Bcf injection reported for the same week in 2016.

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Even so, heating degree day data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the review week to Jan. 14 reflect unsupportive weather, outlining 6.0% fewer heating degree days compared to the same week last year and 10.6% fewer than normal for the week.

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In the previous week's data, the reported net 151-Bcf withdrawal from natural gas inventories in the Lower 48 during the week ended Jan. 6 was slightly more than the market consensus ahead of the report's release that called for a 146-Bcf drawdown from stocks, and was below 152-Bcf withdrawal reported for the same week in 2016 and the five-year average drawdown of 168 Bcf.

The withdrawal brought the total U.S. working gas supply to 3,160 Bcf, some 363 Bcf below the year-ago level and 4 Bcf below the five-year average storage level of 3,164 Bcf.

The withdrawal anticipated in this week's data would result in a total working gas supply of 2,924 Bcf. The year-on-five-year-average deficit would rise to 70 Bcf, while the deficit to the year-ago level would climb to 424 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.