Energy Economy

Natural Gas Price Steady After Storage Increases

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that U.S. natural gas stocks increased by 64 billion cubic feet for the week ending October 20. Analysts were expecting a storage injection of between 62 billion and 72 billion cubic feet. The five-year average for the week is an injection of 75 billion cubic feet, and last year’s storage injection for the week totaled 73 billion cubic feet. Natural gas inventories rose by 51 billion cubic feet in the week ending October 6.

Natural gas futures for November delivery traded down about 0.8% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $2.89 per million BTUs, and traded up slightly at $2.90 shortly afterward. The highest close for the past five trading days was registered last Thursday at $3.10. The 52-week range for natural gas is $2.77 to $3.65. One year ago the price for a million BTUs was around $3.16.

Demand for the next seven days is expected to be moderate as cool temperatures in the east give way to warming over the weekend before dropping after a cool weather system moves through the central states on its way to the east. High temperatures in the west and south are expected to continue as well.

Total U.S. stockpiles fell week over week to 4.8% below last year’s level and remain 1.2% below the five-year average.

The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled about 3.710 trillion cubic feet, around 46 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 3.756 trillion cubic feet and 189 billion cubic feet below last year’s total for the same period. Working gas in storage totaled 3.899 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 today’s report:

  • Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), the country’s largest producer of natural gas, traded up about 0.1%, at $83.268 in a 52-week range of $76.05 to $93.22.
  • Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) traded down about 2.5%, at $3.46 after posting a new 52-week low earlier of $3.41. The stock’s 52-week high is $8.20.
  • EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) traded up about 0.2% to $96.37. The 52-week range is $81.99 to $109.37.

Also, the United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEARCA: UNG) traded down about 0.9%, at $6.29 in a 52-week range of $6.15 to $9.74.