The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is set to release its Weekly Gas Storage Report on Thursday at 10:30am EST. Natural gas prices for December ’15 delivery were down just over a penny early Thursday morning at $2.337 per mmBtu.
The median estimate of industry analysts is for an injection of 19 Bcf. If actually reported, the injection would be 36 Bcf more than the 2014 reported withdrawal (-17 Bcf) and 19 Bcf more than the five-year average (0 Bcf).
NatGasInvestor.com estimates that the injection will total 21 Bcf. The current range of estimates from industry analysts is for an injection from 5 Bcf to 50 Bcf.
Wells Fargo, the top-ranked analyst according to NatGasInvestor’s Analyst Accuracy Rankings, estimates that the injection will total 20 Bcf. PointLogic Energy, the second highest ranked analyst, estimates that the injection will total 29 Bcf.
Natural gas prices were down Thursday morning ahead of the report after the morning 06z GFS run showed almost 30 less demand days from its previous run at 0z. However, the 363.8 gas-weighted demand days are the third highest of fall 2015 thus far.
Thursday’s Weekly Gas Storage Report comes as the EIA recently changed its reporting methods. Specifically, this week’s report will include five reporting regions instead of three. Since 1993, the EIA has reported only three regions.
The increase in reporting regions come on the heels of a revision to last week’s storage report which the EIA released on Monday and attributed to rounding of respondents. The revision, which is usually promulgated in the next week’s report (not on Mondays), as well as the increase in reporting regions, came under fire from many traders and investors.
“Leave it the EIA to do something that doesn’t make sense,” said one New York floor trader. “Why would they make revisions at the end of shoulder season as opposed to a much less volatile time? Poor timing for sure.”
Meanwhile, Thursday’s report is likely the last injection of 2015. With storage levels at 3,985 Bcf after Monday’s revision, the much discussed level of 4 Tcf could indeed be reached today.
“A storage level of 4 Tcf has been talked about since April,” said Steve Kingston, a reporter for NatGasInvestor.com. “It’s been called ‘the straw that will break the camel’s back,’ but in reality, it is just a number. What matters is future production and demand.”
“As you can see in the range of estimates, today’s report number could certainly cause some volatility. It’s a crapshoot as is always the case when injection and withdrawal of gas is near equal. But I have to admit, a single digit injection and a bullish 12z run could send prices running higher,” said Kingston.
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