POLL-US natgas storage seen down 12 bcf in weekly EIA report34 minutes ago by Thomson Reuters

     * Estimates range from build of 4 bcf to draw of 28 bcf    * Median in poll was a 10 bcf withdrawal    By Joe Silha    NEW YORK, Nov 28 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas inventories onaverage are expected to have dropped by 12 billion cubic feetlast week, a Reuters poll of industry traders and analystsshowed on Wednesday.    The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release itsgas storage data for the week ended Nov. 23 on Thursday at 10:30a.m. EST (1530 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 Reuters poll had 30 participants, with estimates rangingfrom a build of 4 bcf to a draw of 28 bcf.    Storage rose by an adjusted 2 bcf in the same week lastyear. The five-year average for that week is an 18 bcf decline.    The median in the survey was a 10 bcf withdrawal.    The EIA estimates that just 1.458 trillion cubic feet of gaswas injected into storage this year. It was the smallest totalbuild since 1991 and helped whittle down a huge surplus. Bycontrast, 2.224 tcf was added to inventory during the sameperiod last year.    The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationsaid there were 119 heating degree days last week. That was ninewarmer than the previous week, 19 warmer than normal and twofewer than the same year-ago 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. 16, overall storage fell 38 bcf to3.873 trillion cubic feet. Stocks hit a record high of 3.929 tcfthree weeks ago, easily eclipsing the previous high of 3.852 tcfhit last November.     While the weekly draw was well above the Reuters pollestimate of 24 bcf, it included a reclassification of 7 bcf ofworking gas to base gas in the Producing Region, implying thatthe actual withdrawal was 31 bcf.    A year-earlier stocks gained 9 bcf, while the five-yearaverage increase for that week was 3 bcf.        The draw sharply trimmed the surplus relative to last yearby 47 bcf to just 24 bcf, or less than 1 percent above the sameweek in 2011. It also cut 41 bcf from the excess versus thefive-year average, reducing that surplus to 168 bcf, or 4.5percent.    (Storage graphic: http://link.reuters.com/mup44s)    This is the fourth straight year that gas inventories headedinto the heating season at a record high.    Record heat last summer and strong utility demand helped tonearly wipe out a huge year-on-year inventory surplus thatpeaked near 900 bcf back in early April.    But storage is still at record highs for this time of yearand will provide a comfortable cushion to meet any winter spikesin demand or unexpected disruptions in supply.    A draw on Thursday at the Reuters poll estimate would cutthe surplus relative to last year by 14 bcf to 10 bcf, or nearlyflat with the same year-ago week. But it would add 6 bcf to theoverhang versus the five-year average, raising that total to 174bcf, or 5 percent.    In the last four reports, total stocks rose 30 bcf, ornearly 8 bcf per week, versus a 159-bcf adjusted build for thesame one-month period last year and a 113-bcf five-year averageincrease for that period.    NOAA said it expected 144 heating degree days this week,nine below normal but 22 more than the same year-ago week.    Early withdrawal estimates for next week's storage reportrange from 50 bcf to 90 bcf. Stocks fell an adjusted 14 bcfduring the same year-ago week, while the five-year average drawfor that week is 51 bcf.    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).          BarnHill Energy           -   9    Caprock Risk Mgmt         -   6    Citigroup                 -  13    Citi Futures              +   4    Credit Suisse             -   5    Ecova                     -  16    Energy Mgmt Institute     -  15    EnergyOverview            -  17    enerjay LLC               -  24    FirstEnergy               -  19    Guernsey                  -  28   IAF Advisors              -   1    ICAP Energy               -   7    INTL FCStone              -  14    JPMorgan                  -   6    Prestige Economics        -   5    Price Futures Group       -  27    Raymond James             -  10    RideFar Energy            -   3    Societe Generale          -   9    The SMC Report            -  12   Stephen Smith Energy      -  12    Strategic Energy          -   4    Summit Energy             -  13    Thomson Reuters Analytics -   7    Tradition Energy          -  10 (Reporting By Joe Silha; Editing by David Gregorio)