The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that U.S. natural gas stocks increased by 98 billion cubic feet for the week ending September 25. Analysts were expecting a storage injection (increase) of around 100 billion cubic feet. The five-year average for the week is an increase of around 94 billion cubic feet, and last year’s addition for the week totaled 112 billion cubic feet.
Natural gas futures for November delivery traded down about 1.6% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $2.50 per million BTUs, and remained unchanged after the data release. Natural gas posted a new 52-week low earlier in the morning at $2.47. Last Thursday, natural gas closed at $2.67 per million BTUs, and over the past five trading days natural gas futures peaked last Monday at around $2.67. The 52-week high for natural gas futures is $4.03. One year ago the price for a million BTUs was around $3.99.
Moderate fall temperatures across most of the United States will lower demand for natural gas both for heating in some areas and for cooling in others. The eastern United States and the Midwest continue to see milder temperatures, although nighttime temperatures may have some Americans turning on their furnaces, and even the Southeast, which is the warmest region of the country this week, is experiencing lower high temperatures. Natural gas supplies continue to be plentiful and demand is slowing down, at least for now.
Stockpiles are nearly 15% above their levels of a year ago and about 4.5% above the five-year average.
The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled about 3.538 trillion cubic feet, around 152 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 3.386 trillion cubic feet and 454 billion cubic feet above last year’s total for the same period. Working gas in storage totaled 3.084 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago.
Here’s how share prices of the largest U.S. natural gas producers reacting to this latest report:
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), the country’s largest producer of natural gas, traded down about 0.3%, at $74.13 in a 52-week range of $66.55 to $97.20.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) traded down about 4% to $7.05. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $6.01 to $24.43.
EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) traded up about 3.1% to $75.08. The 52-week range is $68.15 to $103.04.
Furthermore, the United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEMKT: UNG) traded down about 1.6%, at $11.43 in a 52-week range of $11.36 to $23.73. The low was posted Thursday morning.