Natural Gas Price Rises Following Storage Report

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that U.S. natural gas stocks decreased by 18 billion cubic feet for the week ending April 20.

Analysts were expecting a storage withdrawal of between 3 billion and 17 billion cubic feet. The five-year average for the week is an injection of 60 billion cubic feet, and last year’s storage increase for the week totaled 74 billion cubic feet. Natural gas inventories fell by 36 billion cubic feet in the week ending April 17.

Natural gas futures for May delivery traded down about 2% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $2.79 per million BTUs, and moved up to around $2.81 shortly afterward.

The forecast for overall natural gas demand next week moves into the “moderate” range as cooler, stormier weather moves into the Midwest. Cooler temperatures and showers head into the Northeast as well late this week. Next week sees warmer temperatures across most of the country.

Total U.S. stockpiles fell week over week to 41.2% below last year’s level and are now 29.1% below the five-year average.

The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled about 1.281 trillion cubic feet at the end of last week, around 527 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 1.808 trillion cubic feet and 897 billion cubic feet below last year’s total for the same period. Working gas in storage totaled 2.178 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago.

Here’s how share prices of the largest U.S. natural gas producers reacting to this latest report:

  • Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), the country’s largest producer of natural gas, traded up about 0.7%, at $80.03 in a 52-week range of $72.16 to $89.30.
  • Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) traded up about 0.5% to $3.00, in a 52-week range of $2.53 to $5.87.
  • EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) traded up about 1.6% at $117.19. The 52-week range is $81.99 to $119.00.

In addition, the United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEARCA: UNG) traded up about 0.7% at $23.08 in a 52-week range of $20.40 to $31.72.