RPT-POLL-US natgas storage seen down 24 bcf in weekly EIA report20 minutes ago by Thomson Reuters

(Repeats without change)    * Storage data scheduled for release Wednesday at noon EST    * Withdrawal estimates range from 7 bcf to 36 bcf    * Median withdrawal in poll is 24 bcf    By Joe Silha    NEW YORK, Nov 20 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas inventories onaverage are expected to have dropped last week by 24 billioncubic feet in the heating season's second weekly withdrawal, aReuters poll of industry traders and analysts showed on Tuesday.    The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release itsgas storage data for the week ended Nov. 16 a day early thisweek on Wednesday at 12 noon EST (1700 GMT).    Utilities typically stockpile natural gas from April throughOctober, then withdraw supplies from inventory from Novemberthrough March to help meet peak winter heating demand.    The poll had 20 participants, with withdrawal estimatesranging from 7 bcf to 36 bcf.    Storage rose by an adjusted 9 bcf in the same week lastyear. The five-year average for that week is a build of 3 bcf.    The median withdrawal in the survey was also 24 bcf.    Record heat this summer and strong utility demand helpedslow weekly storage builds and trim a huge inventory surplus bynearly 90 percent.    The EIA estimates that just 1.458 trillion cubic feet of gaswas injected into storage this year, the smallest total buildsince 1991. By contrast, 2.224 tcf was added to inventory duringthe same period last year.    The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationsaid there were 128 heating degree days last week. That was 11colder than the previous week, six colder than normal and 28more than the same year-before week.    Degree days, a measure of departure in the mean dailytemperature from 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius), areused to estimate demand to heat or cool homes and businesses.They are often weighted to reflect population differences inspecific states and regions.     For the week ended Nov. 9, overall storage fell 18 bcf to3.911 trillion cubic feet. Stocks hit a record high of 3.929 tcfthe previous week, easily eclipsing the previous high of 3.852tcf hit last November.     This will be the fourth straight year in which inventorieshead into the heating season at a record high.    The previous week's draw came in above the Reuters pollestimate of 14 bcf. The year-earlier gain was 20 bcf, while thefive-year average increase for that week was 17 bcf.    The injection trimmed the surplus relative to last year by38 bcf to 71 bcf, or 2 percent above the same week in 2011. Italso cut 35 bcf from the excess versus the five-year average,reducing that surplus to 209 bcf, or 6 percent.    (Storage graphic: http://link.reuters.com/mup44s)    Despite the steep drop in the year-on-year surplus, storageis still at record highs for this time of year and will providea comfortable cushion to meet any winter spikes in demand orunexpected disruptions in supply.    A draw on Thursday at the Reuters poll estimate would cutthe surplus relative to last year by 33 bcf to 38 bcf, or 1percent above the same year-ago week. It would trim 27 bcf fromthe overhang versus the five-year average, reducing that totalto 182 bcf, or 5 percent.    In the last four reports, total stocks rose 135 bcf, or 34bcf per week, down from a 245-bcf adjusted build for the sameone-month period last year and a 175-bcf five-year averageincrease for that period.    NOAA said it expected 96 heating degree days this week, 42below normal and 20 less than the same year-ago week.    Early estimates for next week ranged from a slight build of5 bcf to a draw of 28 bcf. Stocks rose an adjusted 2 bcf duringthe same year-ago week, while the five-year average for thatweek is an 18-bcf decline.    The following is a partial list of forecasters in thisweek's survey. If forecasters gave a range, the midpoint wasused. Numbers in billion cubic feet (bcf).          Ecova                     -  24    Energy Mgmt Institute     -  25    EnergyOverview            -  17    EOXLive                   -  24    FirstEnergy               -  36    Guernsey                  -  27    INTL FCStone              -  33    Prestige Economics        -  27    Price Futures Group       -  23    RideFar Energy            -  21    The SMC Report            -  24    Stephen Smith Energy      -  35    Strategic Energy          -  29    Summit Energy             -  28    Thomson Reuters Analytics -  27    Tradition Energy          -  20         (Reporting By Joe Silha; Editing by Peter Galloway)