AGA Issues Report On Storage Survey

Reviewing its nearly five years of weekly natural gas storage surveys, the American Gas Assoc. (AGA) said its numbers generally have tracked the more rigorously compiled monthly surveys by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the AGA survey has become an industry standard.

The status report issued by the AGA last week detailed its methodology and included a complete listing of data from weekly reports from Jan. 5, 1994 through July 24, 1998. AGA said despite the fact it polls less than half the number of companies that EIA surveys, for 41 of the 55 months covered by the report its month-end estimates of working gas in storage have been less than 10% different than numbers tallied by EIA. Chris McGill, AGA's director of gas supply statistics, said the survey covers 84% of the potential storage universe so that on average AGA statisticians only estimate about 16% of the total storage figure.

According to an AGA comparison, this year from May through July has been the highest storage inventory for that period in the last five years, running slightly above the years 1994 and 1995 and much higher than storage levels in 1996 and 1997.

AGA offers some pertinent storage facts: the lowest recorded national working gas inventory was 546 Bcf for the week ending April 12, 1996; the highest inventory entering the winter heating season was 3,099 Bcf for the week ending Nov. 11, 1994; the lowest level entering a winter heating season during the past five years was 2,725 in November 1996; the largest weekly net drawdown - 262 Bcf-occurred in January 1997; the largest net weekly refill - 120 Bcf-occurred in June 1994.

The AGA said its estimate of "full" working gas storage has remained around 3.2 Tcf for the life of the survey.

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