The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that U.S. natural gas stocks increased by 30 billion cubic feet for the week ending November 11. Analysts were expecting a storage addition of about 31 billion cubic feet. The five-year average for the week is an injection of around 3 billion cubic feet, and last year’s storage addition for the week totaled 15 billion cubic feet. Natural gas inventories rose by 54 billion cubic feet in the week ending November 4.
Natural gas futures for December delivery traded down about 0.6% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $2.74 per million BTUs, and traded near $2.72 after the data release. Natural gas closed at $2.76 per million BTUs on Wednesday, after posting a five-day high on Tuesday of $2.82. The 52-week range for natural gas is $2.37 to $3.56. One year ago the price for a million BTUs was around $2.88.
Cooler weather may finally be on its way. A wintry weather system is pushing through the west and is expected to reach the U.S. East Coast by the weekend. Demand for natural gas will rise to meet the demand for heating, but temperatures are expected to moderate by the middle of the week. As a result, overall demand for natural gas remains low through next week.
Stockpiles remain about 1.3% above their levels of a year ago and 4.6% above the five-year average.
The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled about 4.047 trillion cubic feet, around 216 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 3.831 trillion cubic feet and 51 billion cubic feet above last year’s total for the same period. Working gas in storage totaled 3.996 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago.
Here’s how share prices of the largest U.S. natural gas producers reacted this latest report:
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), the country’s largest producer of natural gas, traded up about 0.5%, at $86.18 in a 52-week range of $71.55 to $95.55.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) traded up about 0.3% to $5.93. The stock’s 52-week range is $1.50 to $8.15.
EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) traded down about 0.3% to $94.95. The 52-week range is $57.15 to $98.32.
In addition, the United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEMKT: UNG) traded down about 2.1% at $7.24 in a 52-week range of $5.78 to $9.81.