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Bulls, Bears, Biding Time Before EIA Storage Data; September Called Unchanged

September natural gas is expected to open flat Thursday morning at $2.62 as traders factor in an upcoming government report that is expected to show an addition to inventories similar to the previous week. Overnight oil markets were mixed.

The drumbeat of lower injections and a continually falling storage surplus rolls on. Last week, 29 Bcf was reported injected, and this week's report is not expected to be much different. Last year 56 Bcf was injected, and the five-year pace is also 56 Bcf.

Supplies currently stand at 3,317 Bcf. In order to reach last year's burdensome record level of 3,954 Bcf an estimated 53 Bcf would have to be injected weekly for the remainder of the traditional storage season.

The range of estimates is wide. Tim Evans of Citi Futures Perspective is looking for 18 Bcf, butThe Desk Tealeaves survey showed an average 27 Bcf with a range of 18 Bcf to 41 Bcf. Bentek Energy, using its flow model, calculates a 26 Bcf build.

John Sodergreen, editor of The Desk, said, "There were plenty of folks in both the 24 to 25 Bcf neighborhood and the 38 to 43 Bcf neighborhood, so the range wouldn't have moved all that much. This week, the range is still quite wide; like last week, though, we think the numbers might nudge slightly higher than the consensus, or within 2 Bcf.

"[W]e rarely see two highballer reports in a row out of EIA. And our GWDD Model is low at 24 and the model has been on a tear lately.

“The south-central region is the big 'if' this week, again. Salts and non-salts continue to confound. Last week the region posted its fourth net withdrawal in a row and the sixth draw in seven weeks."

At 5 a.m. EDT the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that Tropical Storm Fiona was located 1,080 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands and was traveling west-northwest at 16 mph. Maximum sustained winds were 45 mph, and NHC projected a storm path to Bermuda.

In overnight Globex trading September crude oil gained 24 cents to $47.03/bbl and September RBOB gasoline fell fractionally to $1.4468/gal.

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