EIA Changes Oil Report Methods


"It's unclear how much U.S. supply and demand figures in the annual report will be affected by the changes."

The Energy Information Administration's monthly petroleum supply report will reflect a more detailed methodology for gathering U.S. crude inventory data that may lead to revisions to last year's data later this year.

Instead of broadly gathering information from companies on oil stocks on a state by state basis, the agency's revamped surveys ask for data about inventories at the individual terminals where petroleum products are stored before going to retailers, said Michael Conner, a survey statistician for the EIA, said today.

The revisions for last year, which will reflect the new system, will be released this summer in the agency's annual petroleum supply report, Conner said.

The EIA has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months as reports of errors in the agency's statistics have surfaced, roiling the markets and raising concerns about the accuracy of the energy data used to make investment and policy decisions.

The EIA said on Monday it was revamping the way it calculates domestic natural gas after overestimating output from key producer states Texas and Louisiana.

Yesterday, the EIA stirred confusion among traders after it reversed course in its natural gas production outlook and called for domestic output to be up, rather than down, this year.

The agency changed its surveying methods for the petroleum supply report after finding irregularities between state-based data provided by companies and data collected from the terminal sites, Conner said in a Reuters report.

The agency began moving toward primarily using the more in-depth forms last year, but the petroleum supply monthly report set to be released tomorrow will be the first fully completed under the new system.

It's unclear how much U.S. supply and demand figures in the annual report will be affected by the changes, Conner said, noting that he was not aware of any major revisions.

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