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EIA's New Production Data Method Shows Higher Output

The Energy Information Agency (EIA) last week published its first "new" monthly natural gas production report, designed to eventually replace its current data series, which covers domestic gross withdrawals from wells for January through July 2005. Using the new method, nearly all of EIA's data reports showed higher withdrawal rates compared with its traditional data collection method.

The new survey of 280 domestic gas producers -- 90% of U.S. total production -- will estimate production on a two-month delay and is designed to be more accurate and timely. EIA's first report is in draft form, and it will remain a draft until the monthly data is considered reliable, the agency said. This is expected to occur by the end of the 2005 report year in March 2006.

The draft EIA data will continue to measure gross withdrawals measured in Bcf/d and the percent change from the previous month for eight areas: Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, Other States (excluding Alaska) and Lower 48 states.

However, the new survey, Form EIA-914, is expected to be more accurate than EIA's current data collection system, which provides information published in EIA's Natural Gas Monthly, Natural Gas Annual and forecasts for the Short Term Energy Outlook. It also is expected to provide better forecasting.

The new producer survey was issued in late 2004, and it includes requests for two main sets of data, gas gross withdrawals and natural gas lease production, from as many as 350 producers if needed (see NGI, Dec. 6, 2004).

All of the new estimates will be made by using an adjusted ratio estimate method, and the associated data files contain initial and revised production estimates for each month (revisions are based on company resubmissions and late reports), response rates by month, and comparisons of results using two different estimation methodologies: (1) the adjusted ratio estimation method used in the draft tables below, and (2) a traditional ratio estimation method.

For instance, in March 2005, which was the highest gross withdrawal month for the Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico area, the new EIA-914 reported 10.473 Bcf/d withdrawn, compared with the traditional method, which found 10.299 Bcf/d. For Louisiana, the highest gross withdrawal was in May 2005. Under the EIA-914 method, the withdrawal rate is 3.945 Bcf/d; the traditional method found a withdrawal rate of 3.731 Bcf/d.

New Mexico's highest withdrawal rate in January 2005 was 4.510 Bcf/d using the new method, compared with 4.467 Bcf/d under the traditional method. Oklahoma's highest withdrawal rate in June was 4.594 Bcf/d; under the old method, it was 4.558 Bcf/d. Texas' highest withdrawal also was in June -- the EIA-914 method reported 16.153 Bcf/d withdrawn, compared with 15.923 Bcf/d under the traditional method.

Wyoming's highest withdrawal was in July, when the EIA-914 method reported 5.517 Bcf/d in gross withdrawals compared with 5.440 Bcf/d using the traditional method. In the Other States (Excluding Alaska) category, the highest month of withdrawal was in June, when the new method reported 10.757 Bcf/d, compared with 10.571 Bcf/d under the traditional method. And for the Lower 48 States category, June also was the highest withdrawal month, with 55.460 Bcf/d under the new method and 54.464 Bcf/d under the traditional method.

To review the entire draft report or learn more about the survey, visit the EIA website at www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/natural_gas/data_publications/eia914/eia914.html.

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