Bloomberg estimates 9bcf draw

 stockpiles probably fell by 7 billion cubic feet last week to 3.866 trillion cubic feet, based on a median of 19 analystestimates compiled by Bloomberg. The five-year average change for the week is a decline of 18 billion. Supplies rose by 2 billion the same week last year, according to the department.

U.S. inventories totaled 3.873 trillion cubic feet in the week ended Nov. 16 after rising to a record 3.929 trillion two weeks earlier, according to the Energy Department, which is scheduled to release its weekly stockpile report tomorrow.

A supply surplus to the five-year averages fell to 4.5 percent in last week’s report after ballooning to 61 percent in March.

Walter Zimmerman, chief technical strategist at United-ICAP, a brokerage in Jersey CityNew Jersey, said gas futures will slide to the $2.30 area by early February, based on a 20-year average decline of 40 percent that begins around the late November Thanksgiving holiday. “It is seasonally the most dangerous time to be long natural gas.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Naureen S. Malik in New York at [email protected];

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at [email protected]