June natural gas is expected to open 3 cents higher Thursday morning at $2.17 ahead of the release of government inventory figures that are expected to give analysts early clues as to the injection season ahead. Overnight oil markets soared.

Injections could be problematical. Inventories stand at 2557 Bcf, or a stout 832 Bcf above the five-year average.

If limited storage were not enough of a worry, the gyrations between weekly builds and draws are causing problems for analysts. "One of the data points we run each week...is a comparison of the last four report tallies this year against the five year average," said John Sodergreen, editor of Energy Metro Desk (EMD). "The past four reports have run: +73; +7; -3 and +12 Bcf against the five-year average of, +52; +45; +22 and -19 Bcf. Last year's numbers were even screwier.

"That said, this week promises to somewhat match the five-year average, for a change, but comparisons to last year continue to be skewed. Last week EIA published a 73 Bcf build, which was way over the five-year average 52 Bcf build, but less than last year's 84 Bcf (adjusted) build."

Sodergreen's EMD survey revealed an average 67 Bcf, about in line with other estimates. IAF Advisors calculated a 67 Bcf increase also, and ICAP Energy is looking for a 69 Bcf increase. A Reuters survey of 21 traders and analysts revealed a 64 Bcf mean with a range of 55 to 72 Bcf. Last year 77 Bcf was injected, and the five year average stands at 64 Bcf.

Gas buyers for daily packages should have their hands full as in some locations temperatures are forecast to be well above seasonal averages. The National Weather Service said in a Thursday morning report, "Well above average temperatures will expand eastward from the northern Rockies and northern plains into the Upper Midwest [Thursday] as high pressure aloft holds strong overhead. Afternoon high temperatures in these areas are forecast to be 15 to 30 degrees above average -- with temperatures nearing 90 degrees for some."

In overnight Globex trading June crude oil rose $1.96 to $45.74/bbl and June RBOB gasoline added 3 cents to $1.5195/gal.