The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that U.S. natural gas stocks increased by 15 billion cubic feet for the week ending November 3. Analysts were expecting a storage injection of around 8 billion cubic feet. The five-year average for the week is an injection of 45 billion cubic feet, and last year’s storage injection for the week totaled 54 billion cubic feet. Natural gas inventories rose by 65 billion cubic feet in the week ending October 20.
Natural gas futures for December delivery traded up about 0.9% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $3.20 per million BTUs and traded down about a penny shortly after the report was released. The highest close for the past five trading days was registered Tuesday at $3.18. The 52-week range for natural gas is $2.85 to $3.75. One year ago, the price for a million BTUs was around $3.12.
Demand for the next seven days is expected to be high as chilly weather in the northern tier of states moves toward the more heavily populated northeastern states. Temperatures in the teens and twenties are forecast, along with some single-digit temperatures scattered in. The West and South are expected to see moderating temperatures with cooler weather expected in the Pacific Northwest.
Total U.S. stockpiles fell week over week to 5.5% below last year’s level and remain 1.8% below the five-year average.
The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled about 3.790 trillion cubic feet, around 71 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 3.861 trillion cubic feet and 219 billion cubic feet below last year’s total for the same period. Working gas in storage totaled 4.009 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 down about 0.3%, at $83.26 in a 52-week range of $76.05 to $93.22.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) traded up about 4.7%, at $4.16 in a 52-week range of $3.41 to $8.20.
EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) traded up about 0.2% to $104.51. The 52-week range is $81.99 to $109.37.
The United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEARCA: UNG) traded up about 1.4%, at $6.56 in a 52-week range of $5.86 to $9.74.