The latest data from the U.S. government on natural-gas inventories, set to be released on Thursday, is projected to show a smaller-than-expected increase. The scorching triple-digit heat in Texas has led to high cooling demand, offsetting potential inventory growth.
According to a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal, analysts, brokers, and traders anticipate a 33 billion cubic feet rise in gas storage for the week ending August 18. Estimates range from 29 bcf to 39 bcf. In comparison, the same week last year saw a rise of 54 bcf, while the five-year average increase stands at 49 bcf.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) will publish the natural-gas storage data at 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday.
If the anticipated increase of 33 bcf holds true, total gas stockpiles will reach 3.098 trillion cubic feet. This figure represents a 20.6% increase compared to last year and is 10.1% higher than the five-year average for this time of year.
One factor contributing to the surplus is the record-breaking domestic natural-gas production seen since the beginning of 2023. Additionally, a mild winter and a weak U.S. manufacturing sector during the first half of the year resulted in lower demand.
However, consumption rates have shown improvement in the second half of the year due to prolonged summer heat in various regions. This has led to an increased need for gas-fired electricity for cooling purposes.