The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that U.S. natural gas stocks increased by 65 billion cubic feet for the week ending September 1. Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts were expecting a storage injection of 65 billion cubic feet. The five-year average for the week is an injection of 58 billion cubic feet, and last year’s storage withdrawal for the week totaled 38 billion cubic feet. Natural gas inventories rose by 30 billion cubic feet in the week ending August 25.
Natural gas futures for October delivery traded down about 0.3% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $2.99 per million BTUs, and traded flat shortly afterward. The highest close for the past five trading days was registered last Thursday at $3.04. The 52-week range for natural gas is $2.80 to $3.62. One year ago the price for a million BTUs was around $3.02.
S&P Global Platts noted that Hurricane Harvey smothered demand across Texas and the Southeast last week. Platts noted that this week’s addition looks to be the largest injection since the EIA reported a 78 billion cubic feet build for the week ended June 9. However, the storm also made it much more difficult for analysts to track supply and demand fundamentals in the region as well.
Overall demand is expected to be moderate again next week with only the interior west and west coast seeing unusually warm temperatures in the first part of the week.
Stockpiles fell week over week to 6.2% below last year’s level, but they remain 0.5% above the five-year average.
The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled about 3.22 trillion cubic feet, around 15 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 3.205 trillion cubic feet and 212 billion cubic feet below last year’s total for the same period. Working gas in storage totaled 3.432 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago.
Here’s how share prices of the largest U.S. natural gas producers reacted to the latest report:
- Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), the country’s largest producer of natural gas, traded up about 0.2%, at $78.962 in a 52-week range of $76.05 to $93.22.
- Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) traded up about 1.3% to $3.819. The stock’s 52-week range is $3.55 to $8.20.
- EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) traded up about 0.1% to $87.95. The 52-week range is $81.99 to $109.37.
In addition, the United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEMKT: UNG) traded down about 0.5%, at $6.64 in a 52-week range of $6.20 to $9.74.