Natural Gas Inventory Rises for Eighth Straight Week

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that U.S. natural gas stocks increased by 100 billion cubic feet for the week ending June 27. That compared with an expected increase of around 99 billion to 103 billion cubic feet anticipated by analysts. The addition marks the eighth consecutive week with triple-digit increases to the country’s natural gas stockpile.

Natural gas futures prices were trading down about 0.3% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $4.34 per million BTUs, and rose to around $4.38 immediately following the report.

For the same week a year ago, stockpiles rose by 76 billion cubic feet, and the five-year average for the week is an increase of 68 billion cubic feet. Stockpiles are about 25.7% below their levels of a year ago and about 29.1% below the five-year average.

Next week’s weather forecast calls for a warming trend over the eastern Midwest, the Southeast and parts of the Southwest. Somewhat cooler temperatures are expected in the western part of the Midwest and in the Northwest. Demand for cooling is expected to be moderate to high this week.

The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled 1.93 trillion cubic feet, about 790 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 2.72 trillion cubic feet. Working gas in storage totaled 2.6 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 reacted to the most recent report:

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), the country’s largest producer of natural gas, was up about 0.7%, at $102.27 in a 52-week range of $84.79 to $104.61.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) was down about 0.1%, at $29.22 in a 52-week range of $19.74 to $29.92.

EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) was down about 0.7% to $115.44. The 52-week range is $68.41 to $118.89.

The United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEMKT: UNG) was up about 0.9%, at $24.23 in a 52-week range of $16.59 to $27.89.

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