Natural Gas Price Steady on Smaller-Than-Expected Storage Injection

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that U.S. natural gas stocks increased by 42 billion cubic feet for the week ending September 29. Analysts were expecting a storage injection of between 48 billion and 58 billion cubic feet. The five-year average for the week is an injection of 91 billion cubic feet, and last year’s storage injection for the week totaled 80 billion cubic feet. Natural gas inventories rose by 58 billion cubic feet in the week ending September 22.

Natural gas futures for November delivery traded up about 1% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $2.98 per million BTUs, and traded down slightly at $2.97 shortly after the report was released. The highest close for the past five trading days was registered last Thursday at $3.02. The 52-week range for natural gas is $2.87 to $3.65. One year ago the price for a million BTUs was around $3.19.

Overall demand is expected to be low next week as temperatures in the 70s and 80s dominate east of the Mississippi River. Cooler temperatures in the Rockies and Northern Plains will be offset by warmer, but still mild, temperatures elsewhere in the West.

Total U.S. stockpiles fell week over week to 4.4% below last year’s level and have now fallen 0.2% below the five-year average.

The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled about 3.508 trillion cubic feet, around 8 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 3.516 trillion cubic feet and 161 billion cubic feet below last year’s total for the same period. Working gas in storage totaled 3.669 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago.

Here’s how share prices of the largest U.S. natural gas producers reacted to today’s report:

  • Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), the country’s largest producer of natural gas, traded up about 0.1%, at $81.85 in a 52-week range of $76.05 to $93.22.
  • Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) traded up about 0.8% to $4.30. The stock’s 52-week range is $3.55 to $8.20.
  • EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) traded up about 0.4% to $96.67. The 52-week range is $81.99 to $109.37.

In addition, the United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEMKT: UNG) traded up about 1%m at $6.45 in a 52-week range of $6.20 to $9.74.