Energy Business

Natural Gas Prices Pop as Storage Drops

Blue flames of a gas stove
Source: thinkstock
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) today reported the U.S. natural gas stocks declined by 146 billion cubic feet last week, slightly more than the decline of 134 billion cubic feet anticipated by analysts. Natural gas futures prices were up fractionally in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $3.50 per million BTUs, and rose sharply to $3.59 immediately following the EIA report.

The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled 2.08 trillion cubic feet, about 269 billion cubic feet higher than the five-year average of 1.81 trillion cubic feet. Working gas in storage totaled 2.44 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago.

Natural gas prices have been getting a boost from nuclear power plant outages, but the total outage is dropping slightly. Weather forecasts for the next 10 days call for below-normal temperatures in the eastern half of the U.S., and above-normal temperatures in the West.

Here’s how stocks 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, is down 0.2%, at $89.35 in a 52-week range of $77.13 to $93.67.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) is up 1%, at $19.93 in a 52-week range of $13.32 to $26.09.

EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) is up 0.8%, at $126.60 in a 52-week range of $82.48 to $138.20.

The U.S. Natural Gas Fund (NYSEMKT: UNG) is up 3%, at $19.75 in a 52-week range of $14.25 to $23.38. The Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSEMKT: OIH) is up 0.4%, at $42.52 in a 52-week range of $32.54 to $45.12. The first fund tracks spot prices; the second includes major drillers and services companies.