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April 22 (Reuters) - U.S. utilities likely injected an above-normal 49 billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas into storage last week as mild weather curbed heating demand, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday.
That compares with an increase in inventories of 43 bcf during the same week a year ago and a five-year (2016-2020) average injection of 37 bcf.
In the week to April 9, utilities added 61 bcf of gas to storage.
If analysts are on target, the injection during the week ended April 16 would take stockpiles up to 1.894 trillion cubic feet (tcf), 1.2% over the five-year average and 11.5% below the same week a year ago.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will release its weekly storage report at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) on Thursday.
There were 72 heating degree days (HDDs) last week compared with a 30-year average of 78 HDDs for the period, according to data provider Refinitiv.
HDDs, which are used to estimate demand to heat homes and business, measure the number of degrees a day's average temperature is below 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius).
Reuters polled 18 analysts, whose estimates ranged from a build of 39 bcf to 56 bcf, with a median increase of 49 bcf.
Early estimates for the week ending April 23 ranged from injections of 5 bcf to 47 bcf, with a mean increase of 19 bcf.
That compares with an injection of 70 bcf during the same week last year and a five-year average build of 67 bcf.
Following is a list of the poll's participants; all figures are in billions of cubic feet:
Forecasts (in bcf)
Energy Ventures Analysis
Baker & O'Brien Inc
Natural Gas Intelligence
Price Futures Group
Stone X Group Inc
C H Guernsey
Gelber & Associates
(Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; editing by Scott DiSavino and Jonathan Oatis)
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