Natural Gas Supply Continues to Fall

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) today reported the U.S. natural gas stocks declined by 95 billion cubic feet last week, slightly less than the decline of 83 billion to 87 billion cubic feet anticipated by analysts. Natural gas futures prices were down about 0.1% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $4.05 per million BTUs, but rose about 0.2% to $4.07 immediately following the EIA report.

The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled 1.78 trillion cubic feet, about 61 billion cubic feet higher than the five-year average of 1.72 trillion cubic feet. Working gas in storage totaled 2.42 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago.

The larger-than-expected drop in natural gas in storage could put the price of natural gas solidly above $4 per million BTUs, a level it reached earlier this week for the first time in nearly two years.

Here is 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 up 0.1%, at $90.68 in a 52-week range of $77.13 to $93.67.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) is down about 0.5%, at $20.42 in a 52-week range of $13.32 to $24.19.

EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) is up 0.2%, at $128.51 in a 52-week range of $82.48 to $138.20.

The U.S. Natural Gas Fund (NYSEMKT: UNG) is down 0.8%, at $22.07 in a 52-week range of $14.25 to $23.38. The Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSEMKT: OIH) is up 0.1%, at $43.01 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.