December natural gas is expected to open 2 cents lower Thursday morning at $2.33 as traders have not only to deal with widely varying injection estimates but also recent Energy Information Administration (EIA) revisions to last week's report. Overnight oil markets were mixed.
Storage is within just a whisker of 4 Tcf, and if estimates are correct that is likely to be exceeded with the 10:30 a.m. EST release of figures for the week ended Nov. 13.
Traders will not only have to deal with a new five-region format, but on Monday the EIA revised the earlier storage report for the week ended Nov. 7 upwards by 5 Bcf. Along with other revisions total working gas now stands at 3985 Bcf. The EIA says that the differences were due to internal machinations of the data by EIA and not any change in the data they receive from those they survey.
If that weren't enough, traders will also have to factor in widely varying estimates for the week ended Nov. 13. Last year, 9 Bcf was withdrawn, and the five-year tally is for a 12 Bcf pull. A Reuters survey of 23 traders and analysts revealed a range from a 5 Bcf injection to a 50 Bcf increase. The average was 18 Bcf, enough to put total storage just a scooch over 4 Tcf at 4,003 Bcf.
Industry consultant Genscape calculated an 8 Bcf increase, and PIRA Energy figured on a fill of 22 Bcf.
If 4 Tcf isn't exceeded in this week's report, forecast heating loads may just be enough to do it for the report of Nov. 20. Estimates by the National Weather Service (NWS) show continuing below-normal heating requirements in major population centers. For the week ending Nov. 21, NWS predicts that New England will see 145 heating degree days (HDD), or 29 below normal, and the Mid-Atlantic, including New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, will experience 116 HDD, or 44 fewer than its normal seasonal tally. The greater Midwest from Ohio to Wisconsin should have just 116 HDD as well, or 67 below normal.
In overnight Globex trading December crude oil fell 47 cents to $40.28/bbl and December RBOB gasoline added 2 cents to $1.2827/gal.