Bloomberg News

U.S. Natural Gas Stockpiles Probably Fell 2.8%, Analysts Say

December 20, 2011

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. natural-gas supplies probably fell by less than the seasonal average last week amid above- normal temperatures and rising production, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg News.

Inventories dropped 105 billion cubic feet, or 2.8 percent, to 3.624 trillion cubic feet in the week ended Dec. 16, based on the median of 10 estimates. The five-year average stockpile change for the week is a decrease of 140 billion, according to Energy Department data. Supplies fell 181 billion cubic feet a year earlier.

“As much as we bemoan the lack of winter and the impending growing storage surpluses, there is little that can be done at this stage to save the winter,” Martin King, an analyst at FirstEnergy Capital Corp. in Calgary, said in a note to clients today.

The weather was mostly warmer than normal in the eastern half of the U.S. last week, according to Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. The low temperature in New York on Dec. 15 was 47 degrees Fahrenheit (8 Celsius), 15 above normal, the National Weather Service said.

Marketed gas production will rise 6.6 percent in 2011 to a record 65.9 billion cubic feet a day, the Energy Department said Dec. 6 in its Short-Term Energy Outlook.

All the analysts surveyed by Bloomberg predicted decreases, with estimates ranging from a decline of 93 billion cubic feet to a drop of 112 billion. The Energy Department’s next weekly supply report is scheduled for release at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 22 in Washington.

Natural gas for January delivery fell 19 cents, or 5.7 percent, to $3.127 per million British thermal units last week on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices today rose 3.2 cents, or 1 percent, to $3.128.

--Editors: Charlotte Porter, Richard Stubbe

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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