Natural Gas Price Up 2% After Storage Report

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Wednesday afternoon that U.S. natural gas stocks decreased by 2 billion cubic feet for the week ending November 18. Analysts were expecting a storage addition of about 4 billion cubic feet. The five-year average for the week is an injection of around 3.8 billion cubic feet, and last year’s storage addition for the week totaled 4 billion cubic feet. Natural gas inventories rose by 30 billion cubic feet in the week ending November 11.

Natural gas futures for January delivery traded up about 0.2% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $3.11 per million BTUs, and traded near $3.16 after the data release. Natural gas closed at $3.10 per million BTUs on Tuesday, after posting a 5-day high of $3.14. The 52-week range for natural gas is $2.37 to $3.56. One year ago the price for a million BTUs was around $2.90.

Cooler weather is finally showing up in more heavily populated east-central states and, after a brief lull in the middle of the week, are expected to show up again. The colder weather is also expected to boost sales of cold weather gear like coats and boots during the four-day, post-Thanksgiving Black Friday weekend. Here’s our take from earlier this week on the weather for the coming weekend.

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 4.045 trillion cubic feet, around 241 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 3.804 trillion cubic feet and 39 billion cubic feet above last year’s total for the same period. Working gas in storage totaled 4.006 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago.

Here’s how share prices 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, traded up about 0.3% at $86.92 in a 52-week range of $71.55 to $95.55.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) traded up about 1.4% at $6.53. The stock’s 52-week range is $1.50 to $8.15.

EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) traded up about 2.2% at $97.32. The 52-week range is $57.15 to $98.32.

The United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEMKT: UNG) traded up about 3.2% at $7.96 in a 52-week range of $5.78 to $9.64.