WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 2019 — The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday is expected to report a 158-billion cubic feet (Bcf) withdrawal for the week ended January 18, 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 draw of 138 Bcf to 180 Bcf. The EIA plans to release its weekly storage report on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. EST.
A 158-Bcf draw would be less than the 273-Bcf withdrawal in the corresponding week last year as well as the five-year average pull of 185 Bcf. It would also mark the fifth consecutive week the drawdown was less than the five-year average.
A withdrawal within expectations of 158 Bcf would decrease stocks to 2.375 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). The deficit versus the five-year average would fall to 300 Bcf while the deficit versus last year would shift to a surplus of 38 Bcf. In early December, those deficits stood at 725 Bcf and 704 Bcf, respectively. High production combined with lower-than-normal heating demand led to a series of small draws.
The expected draw would nearly double the 81 Bcf draw reported last week. It shrunk inventories to 2.533 Tcf, which was 3% less than the year-ago inventory of 2.610 Tcf, and 11.4% less than the five-year average of 2.860 Tcf.
"Since the middle of last December, US-level temperatures have averaged between 3 and 5 degrees above normal, reducing the deficit to the five-year average from around 20 percent to now almost 11 percent," said Kent Berthoud, a storage analyst with S&P Global Platts. "That warm spell came to an abrupt end last week, as a cold front in the Northeast brought US temperatures 2 degrees under the 10-year normal."
Forecast for colder weather are expected to create larger draws ahead. A 186-Bcf draw is projected for the week ending January 25, which is 36 Bcf more than the five-year average.
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.
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