The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that U.S. natural gas stocks increased by 74 billion cubic feet for the week ending May 2. That compared with an expected increase of around 69 billion to 73 billion cubic feet anticipated by analysts.
Natural gas futures prices were trading down about 2% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $4.67 per million BTUs, and slid further to around $4.63 immediately following the report.
Temperatures are expected to stay warm over much of the country for the rest of this week, and that should cut demand for natural gas while helping to build inventories. The outlook for later next week is more mixed, with cooler weather expected to move across the United States from the west, pushing temperatures down and raising demand for natural gas.
The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled 1.06 trillion cubic feet, about 982 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 2.04 trillion cubic feet. Working gas in storage totaled 1.85 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago. Natural gas inventories are rising again, but remain well below the bottom of the five-year range.
Here is how stocks of the largest U.S. natural gas producers are reacting to this latest report:
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), the country’s largest producer of natural gas, was down about 0.5%, at $102.67 in a 52-week range of $84.79 to $103.45.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) was down about 0.3%, at $29.52 in a 52-week range of $19.15 to $29.90. The high was set Thursday morning after Chesapeake’s good earnings report.
EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) was down 1.3% to $103.43. The 52-week range is $62.27 to $106.50.