POLL-US natgas storage seen down 76 bcf in weekly EIA report28 minutes ago by Thomson Reuters

(Repeats Thursday's poll without any changes)    * Withdrawal estimates range from 66 bcf to 87 bcf    * Median draw in the poll was 76 bcf    By Joe Silha    NEW YORK, Dec 27 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas inventories onaverage are expected to have dropped by 76 billion cubic feetlast week, a Reuters poll of industry traders and analystsshowed on Thursday.    The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release itsgas storage data for the week ended Dec. 21 on Friday at 10:30a.m. EST (1530 GMT), a day later due to the Christmas holidaythis week.    Utilities typically stockpile natural gas from April throughOctober, then withdraw stored supplies from November throughMarch to help meet peak winter heating demand.    The Reuters poll had 20 participants, with withdrawalestimates ranging from 66 bcf to 87 bcf.     Storage fell by a date-adjusted 87 bcf during the same weeklast year. The five-year average drop for that week is 140 bcf.    The median draw forecast in the survey was 76 bcf.    The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationsaid there were 155 heating degree days last week. That was onecolder than the previous week but 36 warmer than normal and onewarmer than the same week last year.    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 Dec. 14, overall storage fell 82 bcf to3.724 trillion cubic feet.     The weekly draw came in above the Reuters poll estimate of72 bcf and was viewed as slightly supportive. But some tradersnoted it fell well short of the 100 bcf pulled from storageduring the same week last year, while the five-year averagedecline for that week was 144 bcf.   (Storage graphic: http://link.reuters.com/mup44s)    The withdrawal increased the surplus relative to last yearby 18 bcf to 66 bcf, or 2 percent above the same week in 2011. It also added 62 bcf to the excess versus the five-year average,increasing that total to 345 bcf, or 10 percent.    Stocks hit a record high of 3.929 tcf in early November,making this the fourth straight year that gas inventories haveheaded into the heating season at an all-time peak.     Storage is still at a record high for this time of year.     A draw on Thursday at the Reuters poll estimate would drivestocks to a 77 bcf, or 2 percent, surplus relative to the sameweek last year. It would also add 64 bcf to the overhang versusthe five-year average, increasing that total to 409 bcf, or 13percent.    In the last four reports, total stocks fell 149 bcf, or 37bcf per week, versus an 191-bcf adjusted drop for the sameone-month period last year and a 326-bcf five-year averagewithdrawal for that period.    NOAA said it expected 184 heating degree days this week, 16below normal but 13 more than the same year-ago week.    Early withdrawal estimates for next week's storage reportrange from 100 bcf to 141 bcf versus a 77 bcf adjusted declineduring the same year-ago week and a five-year average draw forthat week of 111 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).          Citi Futures              -  69    Ecova                     -  72    enerjay LLC               -  82    EOXLive                   -  86    Gelber & Associates       -  77    Guernsey                  -  85    IAF Advisors              -  69    ICAP Energy               -  71    INTL FCStone              -  87    LCI Energy Insight        -  67    Prestige Economics        -  84    Price Futures Group       -  76    Raymond James             -  76    Stephen Smith Energy      -  81    Strategic Energy          -  67    Summit Energy             -  76    Thomson Reuters Analytics -  71    Tradition Energy          -  75     (Reporting by Joe Silha; Editing by Marguerita Choy)