Natural Gas Price Rises Following Inventory Report

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that U.S. natural gas stocks increased by 96 billion cubic feet for the week ending May 25.

Analysts were expecting a storage injection 100 billion cubic feet. The five-year average for the week is an injection of 97 billion cubic feet, and last year’s storage increase for the week totaled 81 billion cubic feet. Natural gas inventories rose by 91 billion cubic feet in the week ending May 18.

Natural gas futures for July delivery traded up about 1.2% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $2.95 per million BTUs, and rose to around $2.98 shortly after the report was released.

The forecast for overall natural gas demand next week is expected to be “moderate” as warm to hot temperatures continue over the central and southern United States. Rain and cooler temperatures will lower demand for cooling in the West. Hot weather is forecast for the South and Southwest next week.

Total U.S. stockpiles rose week over week to 31.4% below last year’s level and are now 22.5% below the five-year average.

The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled about 1.725 trillion cubic feet at the end of last week, around 500 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 2.225 trillion cubic feet, as well as 788 billion cubic feet below last year’s total for the same period. Working gas in storage totaled 2.513 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 this latest report:

  • Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), the country’s largest producer of natural gas, traded down about 0.5%, at $81.11 in a 52-week range of $72.16 to $89.30.
  • Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) traded down about 0.7%, at $4.48 in a 52-week range of $2.53 to $5.29.
  • EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) traded down about 0.3% to $119.44. The 52-week range is $81.99 to $128.03.

Furthermore, the United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEARCA: UNG) traded up about 3%, at $24.08 in a 52-week range of $20.40 to $27.92.