Natural Gas Price Slips on Large Build to Stockpiles

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that U.S. natural gas stockpiles increased by 96 billion cubic feet for the week ending June 8.

Analysts were expecting a storage injection of between 83 and 93 billion cubic feet. The five-year average for the week is an injection of 91 billion cubic feet and last year’s storage increase for the week totaled 78 billion cubic feet. Natural gas inventories rose by 92 billion cubic feet in the week ending June 1.

Natural gas futures for July delivery traded up about 0.1% in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $2.97 per million BTUs and slipped to just under $2.95 shortly after the report was released.

For the period between June 12 and June 18, NatGasWeather.com predicts “moderate” demand and offers the following demand outlook:

A hot upper ridge will dominate the central and southern US this week with highs of upper 80s to 100s for strong demand. The northern US will see numerous weather systems track across with showers and slightly cool versus normal conditions with highs mainly in the 60s to 80s for light heating and cooling demand. A warm break will spread across the northern and eastern US this weekend into next week for stronger demand. The West will be heating up this week with highs mainly in the 80s to 100s, then cooling this weekend.

Total U.S. stockpiles rose week over week to 29.1%, below last year’s level and are now 21% under the five-year average.

The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled about 1.913 trillion cubic feet at the end of last week, around 507 billion cubic feet less than the five-year average of 2.420 trillion cubic feet and 785 billion cubic feet below last year’s total for the same period. Working gas in storage totaled 2.698 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 0.5% at $82.05 in a 52-week range of $72.16 to $89.30.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) traded down about 0.3% at $4.74 in a 52-week range of $2.53 to $5.20.

EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) traded flat at $118.05. The 52-week range is $81.99 to $128.03.

The United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEArca: UNG) traded up about 0.2% at $23.99 in a 52-week range of $20.40 to $27.92.