Natural Gas Supply Weighs on Price

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that U.S. natural gas stocks increased by 38 billion cubic feet for the week ending October 25. That compared with an expected build of about 33 billion to 37 billion cubic feet anticipated by analysts. Natural gas futures prices were trading about 4% lower in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $3.59 per million BTUs, and slipped to $3.58 immediately following the EIA report.

The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled 3.78 trillion cubic feet, about 58 billion cubic feet higher than the five-year average of 3.72 trillion cubic feet. Working gas in storage totaled 3.9 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago. Natural gas inventories remain roughly in the middle of the five-year range. The five-year average increase for the period is 68 billion cubic feet.

Even though the inventory build was larger than expected, prices slipped as an extended spell of warmer-than-normal temperatures has been forecast for most of the East and Gulf Coasts, Midwest and parts of the Southwest, including Texas.

Here is how stocks of the largest U.S. natural gas producers reacted to Thursday’s report:

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), the country’s largest producer of natural gas, was up 0.6% to $89.30, in a 52-week range of $84.70 to $95.49. Exxon reported third-quarter results Thursday morning.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) was down 1.4%, at $27.75 in a 52-week range of $16.23 to $28.71.

EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) was down 1.6% to $177.43. The 52-week range is $112.05 to $188.30.

The U.S. Natural Gas Fund (NYSEMKT: UNG) was down 1.1%, at $17.80 in a 52-week range of $16.59 to $24.09. The Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSEMKT: OIH) was down 0.2%, at $49.62 in 52-week range of $36.24 to $50.61. The first fund tracks spot prices; the second includes major drillers and services companies.