Natural Gas Price Steady Following In-Line Storage Withdrawal

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Wednesday morning that U.S. natural gas stocks decreased by 46 billion cubic feet for the week ending November 17. Analysts were expecting a storage withdrawal of around 51 billion cubic feet. The five-year average for the week is a withdrawal of 26 billion cubic feet and last year’s storage withdrawal for the week totaled 2 billion cubic feet. Natural gas inventories fell by 18 billion cubic feet in the week ending November 10.

Natural gas futures for December delivery traded down about 1.5% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $2.97 per million BTUs and traded at about $2.96 shortly after the report was released. The highest close for the past five trading days was registered last Friday at $3.10. The 52-week range for natural gas is $2.85 to $3.75. One year ago the price for a million BTUs was around $3.08.

Demand for the coming week is expected to be moderate as a cold front moving through the Midwest and Northeast will cause temperatures to fall over the next couple of days. The West and South are expected to post warmer temperatures outside the Pacific Northwest. Mild weather is expected in the east central states later this week before turning cooler early next week.

Total U.S. stockpiles fell week over week to 7.9% below last year’s level and are now 3.1% below the five-year average.

The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled about 3.726 trillion cubic feet, around 121 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 3.847 trillion cubic feet and 319 billion cubic feet below last year’s total for the same period. Working gas in storage totaled 4.045 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 0.5% at $81.24 in a 52-week range of $76.05 to $93.22.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) traded up about 3.4% at $3.94 in a 52-week range of $3.41 to $8.20.

EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) traded up about 0.9% at $102.50. The 52-week range is $81.99 to $109.37.

The United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEAMERICAN: UNG) traded down about 1.6% at $6.10 in a 52-week range of $5.86 to $9.74.