The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thurssday afternoon that U.S. natural gas stocks decreased by 50 billion cubic feet for the week ending November 25. Analysts were expecting a storage decline of about 52 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 fell by 2 billion cubic feet in the week ending November 18.
Natural gas futures for January delivery traded up around 3% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $3.44 per million BTUs, and traded near $3.46 after the data release. Natural gas closed at $3.35 per million BTUs on Wednesday, after posting a 5-day high of $3.37 on Tuesday. The 52-week range for natural gas is $2.50 to $3.51, and the high was posted earlier in the noon hour today. One year ago the price for a million BTUs was around $2.87.
Cooler, wetter weather is on tap for the next few days. Cold air from Canada will work into the northern plains, but following a cold blast in northeast due this weekend temperatures are expected to return to above normal.
It is also worth noting that the sharp boost in oil prices following the OPEC agreement announced Wednesday is helping lift natural gas prices as well.
Stockpiles remain about 0.6% above their levels of a year ago and 6.3% above the five-year average.
The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled about 3.995 trillion cubic feet, around 235 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 3.760 trillion cubic feet and 24 billion cubic feet above last year’s total for the same period. Working gas in storage totaled 3.971 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 1.1% at $88.21 in a 52-week range of $71.55 to $95.55.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) traded up about 3.5% at $7.24. The stock’s 52-week range is $1.50 to $8.15.
EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) traded up about 4% at $106.67. The 52-week range is $57.15 to $107.47 and the high was posted today.
The United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEMKT: UNG) traded up about 4.8% at $8.83 in a 52-week range of $5.78 to $9.64.