Bloomberg News

U.S. Natural Gas Stockpiles Probably Rose 0.3%, Analysts Say

November 30, 2011

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. natural-gas supplies probably rose last week as mild weather limited heating demand, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg before a weekly government report.

Inventories gained 10 billion cubic feet, or 0.3 percent, to 3.862 trillion cubic feet in the week ended Nov. 25, based on the median of five estimates. The five-year average change for the week is a decrease of 29 billion cubic feet, according to Energy Department data. Supplies fell 21 billion cubic feet a year earlier.

Temperatures were mostly normal or above-normal in the eastern and central U.S. last week, according to MDA EarthSat Weather in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Gas stockpiles for the week ended Nov. 18 totaled a record 3.852 trillion cubic feet, 6.4 percent above the five-year average for the week and 0.6 above year-earlier levels.

A storage injection “would further strengthen the surplus to both 2010 and the five-year average,” said Eric Bickel, an analyst at Summit Energy Services Inc. in Louisville, Kentucky, a subsidiary of Schneider Electric SA. Heating demand in the eastern U.S. was lower than normal last week, Bickel said.

The stockpile estimates ranged from increases of 2 billion to 18 billion cubic feet. The Energy Department’s weekly supply report is scheduled for release at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 1 in Washington.

If analysts’ estimates are correct, the injection of 10 billion cubic feet would be the largest increase in supplies for the fourth week of November since 2001.

The low temperature in New York on Nov. 20 was 49 degrees Fahrenheit (9 Celsius), 9 above normal, according to AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. The low in Chicago was 40 degrees, 7 above normal.

About 51 percent of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, according to the Energy Department.

Natural gas for January delivery rose 22.6 cents, or 6.8 percent, to $3.542 per million British thermal units last week on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices today gained 10.8 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $3.633.

--Editors: Bill Banker, Margot Habiby

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Buurma in New York at Cbuurma1@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net.


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