Natural Gas Supply Better Than Expected, Price Falls

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) today reported the U.S. natural gas stocks declined by 62 billion cubic feet last week, slightly less than the decline of 70 billion cubic feet anticipated by analysts. Natural gas futures prices were up about 1% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $3.99 per million BTUs, but quickly fell about 1% to $3.94 immediately following the EIA report.

The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled 1.88 trillion cubic feet, about 162 billion cubic feet higher than the five-year average of 1.71 trillion cubic feet. Working gas in storage totaled 2.38 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago.

The smaller-than-expected drop in natural gas in storage has stopped the rally in natural gas prices that looked like it would take the price back above $4.00 per million BTUs for the first time since September 2011.

Here is 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 down 0.7%, at $88.03 in a 52-week range of $77.13 to $93.67.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) is down about 0.1%, at $20.87 in a 52-week range of $13.32 to $25.62.

EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) is down 0.3%, at $125.88 in a 52-week range of $82.48 to $138.20.

The U.S. Natural Gas Fund (NYSEMKT: UNG) is up 0.2%, at $21.68 in a 52-week range of $14.25 to $23.38. The Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSEMKT: OIH) is down 0.3%, at $41.93 in a 52-week range of $32.54 to $45.12. The first fund tracks spot prices; the second includes major drillers and services companies.

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