The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that U.S. natural gas stocks increased by 28 billion cubic feet for the week ending July 14. Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts were expecting a storage injection of between 25 billion and 40 billion cubic feet. The five-year average for the week is an injection of 59 billion cubic feet, and last year’s storage injection for the week totaled 38 billion cubic feet. Natural gas inventories rose by 57 billion cubic feet in the week ending June 30.
Natural gas futures for August delivery traded up about 0.9% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $3.10 per million BTUs and dipped to around $3.08 shortly thereafter. The highest close for the past five trading days was registered Tuesday at $3.09. The 52-week range for natural gas is $2.82 to $3.62. One year ago the price for a million BTUs was around $3.03.
Domestic demand for natural gas in the week ahead is expected to remain high as hot weather is expected to dominate in most of the United States. The Great Lakes area and the Northeast are expected to get some relief late in the weekend and into next week. Overall demand for natural gas will be high to very high.
Stockpiles fell week over week to 9.1% below last year’s level, but remain 5% above the five-year average.
The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled about 2.973 trillion cubic feet, around 141 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 2.832 trillion cubic feet and 299 billion cubic feet below last year’s total for the same period. Working gas in storage totaled 3.272 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago.
Here’s how share prices 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, traded up about about 0.2% at $80.98 in a 52-week range of $79.26 to $94.29.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) traded down about 1.3% at $4.89. The stock’s 52-week range is $4.38 to $8.20.
EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) traded up 0.6% at $94.84. The 52-week range is $78.04 to $109.37.
The United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEMKT: UNG) traded down about 0.2 at $6.86 in a 52-week range of $6.33 to $9.74.