Natural Gas Price Moves Higher Briefly After Storage Report

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that U.S. natural gas stockpiles increased by 69 billion cubic feet for the week ending August 31.

Analysts were expecting a storage injection of around 65 billion cubic feet. The five-year average for the week is an injection of 74 billion cubic feet, and last year’s storage increase for the week totaled 87 billion cubic feet. Natural gas inventories rose by 63 billion cubic feet in the week ending August 31.

Natural gas futures for October delivery traded up about a penny in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $2.83 per million BTUs, and it rose to about $2.85 shortly after the report was released.

For the period between September 13 and September 19, NatGasWeather.com predicts “moderate” demand and offers the following outlook:

Hurricane Florence will track inland along the N. & S. Carolina Coasts in the coming days with flooding rains and dangerous winds, then moving inland over the Southeast this weekend. Texas and the South will see areas of showers, while a cooler system impacts the Northwest. It remains hot over the Southwest with 90s and 100s, while also hot over the Southeast with lower 90s. Warm high pressure will strengthen over the northern half of the country to close out the week with 80s becoming widespread besides the Northwest.

In its Short-term Energy Outlook published earlier this week, the EIA forecast dry natural gas production to average 81 billion cubic feet per day in 2018, up by 7.4 billion cubic feet in 2017 and establishing a new record high. The agency expects natural gas production will continue to rise in 2019 to an average of 84.7 billion cubic feet per day.

Total U.S. stockpiles slipped slightly week over week to 20.1% below last year’s level and rose to 18.4% below the five-year average.

The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled about 2.636 trillion cubic feet at the end of last week, around 596 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 3.232 trillion cubic feet and 662 billion cubic feet below last year’s total for the same period. Working gas in storage totaled 3.298 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 down about 0.7%, at $82.56 in a 52-week range of $72.16 to $89.30.
  • Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) traded down about 0.9%m at $4.03 in a 52-week range of $2.53 to $5.60.
  • EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) traded down about 1.1% to $115.65. The 52-week range is $91.17 to $131.60.

In addition, the United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEARCA: UNG) traded up about 0.5%, at $23.32 in a 52-week range of $20.40 to $27.92.