AGA to continue weekly gas storage report until EIA takes over in May

The American Gas Association Tuesday said it would continue to publish its weekly gas storage survey through the end of April at the request of the US Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

By the OGJ Online Staff

WASHINGTON, DC, Dec. 11 --The American Gas Association Tuesday said it would continue to publish its weekly gas storage survey through the end of April.

The US Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission had asked AGA to continue the report until DOE's Energy Information Administration could assume the role.

AGA said it would continue to follow its current voluntary survey methods through the final report May 1. EIA will mandate that companies submit data for its report, which would begin the following week.

AGA said Oct. 12 it would publish its last weekly survey Jan. 2 because the effort "drained resources committed to other programs more beneficial to AGA members."

Soon after AGA's announcement, EIA said it would begin its own weekly survey of gas storage, without setting a date. EIA officials asked AGA to continue through the end of the home heating season to give the agency more time to prepare (OGJ Online, Nov. 14, 2001).

Energy economists said it was imperative that EIA and AGA ensure the survey was not disrupted during the high-demand heating season. Traders watch changes in storage inventories to gauge supply and demand.

The AGA report, launched in January 1994, provides the only weekly supply data available to the natural gas market. The American Petroleum Institute, which publishes oil data, considered taking over the gas survey but deferred to EIA.

In a separate statement, EIA said it plans to provide weekly estimates of working gas in storage for the same 3 regions of the US for which AGA provided estimates. The EIA and AGA series are expected to be similar, but may not be identical because of some differences in respondents and methodology.

At the time of EIA's first release, the agency will also release its estimates of storage for several prior weeks along with a comparison to the corresponding AGA estimates.

"These estimates and a description of EIA's methodology will be provided to help industry analysts and data customers adjust to any differences," EIA said.

As part of its request for expedited collection authority from the Office of Management and Budget, EIA will release a Federal Register notice by Dec. 18 describing the new survey and requesting comment.

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