The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) today reported the U.S. natural gas stocks increased by 72 billion cubic feet last week, within the range for an expected build of between 51 and 75 billion cubic feet anticipated by analysts. Natural gas futures prices were down about 1.8% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $3.59 per million BTUs, and rose to around $3.62 immediately following the EIA report.
The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled nearly 2.61 trillion cubic feet, about 30 billion cubic feet lower than the five-year average of 2.64 trillion cubic feet. Working gas in storage totaled 3.1 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago. Natural gas inventories remain roughly in the middle of the five-year range.
The hot weather in the West is expected to move eastward this week, raising temperatures across the Northeast and parts of the Midwest. As the heat hits the more populated areas of the country, demand for natural gas is forecast to rise to meet the demands of customers for cooling.
Here’s how stocks of the largest U.S. natural gas producers are reacting to today’s report:
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), the country’s largest producer of natural gas, is up 0.1% at $90.69 in a 52-week range of $82.83 to $93.67.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) is up 0.3% at $20.99 in a 52-week range of $16.23 to $22.97.
EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) is up 0.3% at $138.26 in a 52-week range of $88.75 to $139.27.
The US Natural Gas Fund (NYSEMKT: UNG) is down 0.7% at $19.20 in a 52-week range of $17.38 to $24.09. The Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSEMKT: OIH) is down 0.3% at $43.45 in a 52-week range of $34.93 to $45.80. The first fund tracks spot prices; the second includes major drillers and services companies.