S&P Global Platts Survey of Analysts Suggests U.S. EIA Data to Show 55-Bcf Build to Natural Gas Stocks

WASHINGTON , Nov. 07 2018 — The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday is expected to report a 55-billion cubic feet (Bcf) injection for the week ended November 2, 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 44 Bcf to 63 Bcf. The EIA plans to release its weekly storage report on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. EST. A 55 Bcf injection would be more than the 22 Bcf build in the corresponding week last year as well as the five-year average build of 48 Bcf.

An injection within analysts' expectations of 55 Bcf would increase stocks to 3.198 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). The deficit versus the five-year average would decrease slightly to 631 Bcf while the deficit versus last year would contract to 590 Bcf.

The EIA reported a 48 Bcf injection for the week ended October 26. It grew inventories to 3.143 Tcf, which was 16.5% less than the year-ago inventory of 3.766 Tcf, and 16.9% less than the five-year average of 3.781 Tcf. This Thursday's announcement should be similar as average population-weighted temperatures across the US inched up 1 degree week over week. The middling temperatures have depressed gas-fired power generation demand to almost half the levels seen during the hottest days of summer, allowing injections to peak above the five-year average before residential and commercial demand takes off during the heating season.

"The largest shift week-over-week was in residential and commercial demand, which halted for the first time since September after steadily growing from 11 Bcf/d to 24 Bcf/d throughout the shoulder season," said Kent Berthoud, a storage analyst with S&P Global Platts Analytics. "As a result, inventories are forecast to wrap up October at 3.2 Tcf, 15% below the five-year average, and at the lowest levels for this time of year in more than a decade."

An early forecast for the week ending November 9 calls for a build of 36 Bcf, roughly double the five-year average. The week ending November 16 is forecast to feature the first net withdrawal of this year's heting season. Storage is now expected to peak at 3.23 Tcf before the switch to withdrawals in early November, according to the latest forecast by Platts Analytics. If so, it would be the lowest level to start the heating season since 2003 when stocks peaked at 3.18 Tcf.

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.

S&P Global Platts Media Contact update

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