The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) today reported the U.S. natural gas stocks declined by 172 billion cubic feet last week, above an average expected drop of around 167 billion cubic feet. Natural gas futures prices were slightly higher in advance of the EIA’s report at around $3.58 per million BTUs, and dropped slightly to around $3.55 immediately following the EIA report.
The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled 3.0 trillion cubic feet, about 320 billion cubic feet higher than the five-year average of 2.68 trillion cubic feet. Working gas in storage totaled 3.15 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago.
Storage levels have again risen above the high end of the five-year range even though the draw on stocks was higher than expected. Gas prices remain about 9% below recent highs around $3.93 per thousand cubic feet.
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 about 0.8% at $91.45 in a 52-week range of $77.13 to $93.67.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) is up about 1.3% at $18.74 in a 52-week range of $13.32 to $26.09.
EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) is up about 1.1% at $126.10, in a 52-week range of $82.48 to $127.34, a high posted last week.
The US Natural Gas Fund (NYSEMKT: UNG) is down about 1.3% at $19.75 in a 52-week range of $14.25 to $23.92. The Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSEMKT: OIH) is up about 0.3% at $42.71 in a 52-week range of $32.54 to $45.14. The first fund tracks spot prices; the second includes major drillers and services companies.