Physical prices for the long weekend and Monday tumbled in Thursday trading as buyers were reluctant to make purchases ahead of anticipated reduced industrial load. Midwest points showed relative strength, but Northeast locations recorded healthy drops as weather conditions were expected to remain at seasonal levels.
Prior to the release of the storage data, expectations were for a more modest addition. Ritterbusch and Associates predicted an increase of 28 Bcf, and a Reuters survey of 25 traders and analysts resulted in a sample mean of 34 Bcf with a range of plus 10-45 Bcf. Industry consultant Bentek Energy had calculated a build of 33 Bcf. Nonetheless, the storage surplus increased as last year 29 Bcf was withdrawn, and the five-year average is for a build of 8 Bcf.
Bentek correctly cautioned that "most of the risk is to the high side this week. Larger injections could be reported in the East and Producing regions, although the withdrawals in the East by NGPL and TCO support the smaller build estimated in this region."
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