The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that U.S. natural gas stocks increased by 54 billion cubic feet for the week ending November 4. Analysts were expecting a storage addition of between 51 billion and 61 billion cubic feet. The five-year average for the week is an injection of around 38 billion cubic feet, and last year’s storage addition for the week totaled 54 billion cubic feet. Natural gas inventories rose by 54 billion cubic feet in the week ending October 28.
Natural gas futures for December delivery traded down about 4% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $2.61 per million BTUs, and traded near $2.60 after the data release. Natural gas closed at $2.69 per million BTUs on Wednesday, after posting a five-day high on Monday of $2.88. The 52-week range for natural gas is $2.37 to $3.56. One year ago the price for a million BTUs was around $2.89.
Warmer-than-average temperatures that have pushed down natural gas prices continued for a third consecutive week, and only a temporary spike in demand is expected through the middle of next week. The November contract reached a 52-week high of $3.37 per thousand cubic feet just three weeks ago.
A blast of cooler air is expected in the Great Lakes and eastern regions of the country in the next few days, but its impact will be moderate and warmer temperatures are expected to follow.
Stockpiles remain about 1.2% above their levels of a year ago and 4.9% above the five-year average.
The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled about 4.017 trillion cubic feet, around 189 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 3.828 trillion cubic feet and 47 billion cubic feet above last year’s total for the same period. Working gas in storage totaled 3.970 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 this latest report:
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), the country’s largest producer of natural gas, traded up about 1.3% at $87.36 in a 52-week range of $71.55 to $95.55.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) traded up about 3.5% to $5.97. The stock’s 52-week range is $1.50 to $8.15.
EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) traded down less than 0.1% at $93.40. The 52-week range is $57.15 to $98.32.
Furthermore, the United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEMKT: UNG) traded down about 3.2%, at $6.983 in a 52-week range of $5.78 to $10.08.