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Today in Energy

October 5, 2011

WNGSR provides insight into natural gas markets and the broader economy

working gas inventories
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report.

Today in Energy features this story explaining the Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR) and a separate story explaining the Weekly Petroleum Status Report (WPSR). Together, these stories describe how EIA conducts surveys and publishes reports on two widely-followed sets of energy market information.

EIA's Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR) measures how much natural gas is available for withdrawal–working natural gas–in the Nation's underground storage reservoirs, by region (see map). The WNGSR, the Department of Energy's only designated Principal Federal Economic Indicator, is closely watched by both natural gas industry participants and those seeking insight into the current condition of the economy.

EIA first released the WNGSR in March 2002, following a request from the Secretary of Energy after resource constraints led a trade association to cease its reporting on weekly storage activity. Data are based on the EIA-912 weekly survey from a sample of storage operators that supply EIA with their regional working gas storage inventories, as of Friday morning of the report week. These data are combined with estimates of non-sampled storage operators and is released to the public on the following Thursday at precisely 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time (with exception of certain weeks with holidays).

Although the EIA-912 only surveys respondents on current inventory data, the WNGSR uses this information in conjunction with the prior week's inventory estimates to provide the implied net storage change, which can be used as a proxy of net injections and withdrawals. The report also includes statistics on the current inventory levels compared with year-ago inventory levels and the 5-year average.