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Wilmoth: Natural gas data release is an exact science

The U.S. Energy Information Administration takes reporting natural gas storage data seriously. Like characters in a spy movie, administration officials sync watches before releasing the weekly storage numbers to ensure they don't tip off lucky traders too early.
by Adam Wilmoth Published: March 29, 2013
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Trading volumes spike within the five seconds before and after 10:30, apparently based on speculation and reality of how much natural gas was produced and consumed throughout the country over the prior week.

Production, consumption and storage numbers largely affect natural gas price trends.

To ensure no one gets an advantage, the EIA employs spy practices in its preparation.

The natural gas storage numbers are collected on a computer that is not connected to the Internet.

Thursday mornings, the data is copied securely onto a flash drive, which is then walked to a different computer on a different floor for release at the precise moment.

While the administration has worked to avoid tipping its hand to those gambling most closely on the weekly numbers, Sieminski has advice for anyone else.

“If you want to buy gas or make a hedge, I suggest you do business with somebody other than at 10:30 on Thursday,” he said.

by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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