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Key EIA Gas Analysis, Forecasting Programs Survive Budget Scalpel

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) plans to cut out completely or scale back a number of its energy analysis programs due to a 14% reduction in its budget for the current fiscal year.

The fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget, which was hammered out between President Obama and Congress earlier this month, would shave agency funding by $15.2 million to $95.4 million (see Daily GPI, April 18). "The lower FY 2011 funding level will require significant cuts in EIA's data analysis and forecasting activities," said EIA Administrator Richard Newell.

Many of the EIA activities that the natural gas industry relies on appear to have escaped the budget scalpel: weekly storage withdrawal estimates, monthly 914 production figures, the monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook and the Annual Energy Outlook.

However, the EIA said it will not prepare or publish this year's edition of U.S. proved oil and natural gas reserves; it will curtail efforts to understand linkages between physical energy markets and financial trading; it will suspend auditing of data submitted by major oil and gas companies and reporting on their 2010 financial performance; and it will reduce collection of data from natural gas marketing companies.

The agency said it also will make adjustments to its analysis/forecasting programs for electricity, renewables and coal; and suspend work involving consumption, efficiency and international energy data.

The EIA has about five months to make the necessary cuts, said spokesman Jonathan Cogan. Additional cuts are being evaluated and may result in further adjustments to EIA's data and analysis activities in the near term, according to the agency.

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