The Energy Information Administration (EIA) will take over where the American Gas Association leaves off, conducting weekly surveys of natural gas in storage in the United States, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said Tuesday.

“Today, natural gas supplies almost a quarter of the nation’s energy needs, and that demand is likely to increase by almost a third by 2010,” Abraham said. “Natural gas is a key element in meeting the nation’s future economic, energy and environmental objectives. I believe it is important that the Department of Energy continue the reporting responsibility for this vital energy resource.”

“While the timing of the new survey has yet to be determined,” DOE’s information agency “is working closely with AGA to avoid any lapse in coverage,” according to a press release. The association announced earlier this month it intends to publish its last survey on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2002. It said it was taking “increasingly more staff time and effort to calculate and post the survey estimates; this drained resources committed to other programs more beneficial to its members” (see Daily GPI, Oct. 15).

AGA had been conducting the survey for more than seven years. Recently, the organization of LDCs came under attack when it was forced to make a major revision in survey numbers. Sources said some traders threatened the group with lawsuits. Others pointed out that the survey had grown from its original purpose, which was to furnish its members with storage updates, into a marker around which speculators made millions of dollars in trades. Just before AGA announced it was dropping the survey, FERC Chairman Pat Wood said he had been on the Nymex trading floor and was astounded when everything came to a halt just before the AGA’s weekly storage injection figure was announced.

EIA currently conducts monthly surveys which are published with a month’s lag time.

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