Natural Gas Price Jumps After Small Storage Addition

September 27, 2018 by Paul Ausick

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday morning that U.S. natural gas stockpiles increased by 46 billion cubic feet for the week ending September 21.

Analysts were expecting a storage injection of around 62 billion cubic feet. The five-year average for the week is an injection of 81 billion cubic feet, and last year’s storage increase for the week totaled 58 billion cubic feet. Natural gas inventories rose by 86 billion cubic feet in the week ending September 14.

Natural gas futures for November delivery traded up about six cents in advance of the EIA’s report, at around $3.02 per million BTUs, and rose to nearly $3.06 after the report was released.

For the period between September 27 and October 3, predicts “moderate” demand and offers the following outlook:

High pressure will dominate the West and Southeast with highs of 80s and 90s. A cool front extends from the east-central US to the South, with heavy showers. A stronger cool front will push into the north-central US the next few days with lows of 30s and 40s, locally 20s. Much of the US will return above normal next week with highs of 80s to lower 90s over the southern US and upper 60s to lower 80s across the northern US. Locally cooler exceptions next week will be near the Canadian border.

Earlier this week the EIA reported that U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions fell by 0.9% last year. That’s a drop of 476 million metric tons, from 5,189 million in 2016 to 5,142 million in 2017. The agency attributed the decline to a 1.1% drop in the carbon intensity of the nation’s energy supply, a 2% decline in energy intensity, and a 3.1% decline in overall carbon intensity of the U.S. economy. Carbon dioxide emissions have declined for seven of the past 10 years, and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are now 14% below 2005 levels.

Total U.S. stockpiles dipped week over week to 20% below last year’s level and fell to 18.3% below the five-year average.

The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled about 2.768 trillion cubic feet at the end of last week, around 621 billion below the five-year average of 3.389 trillion cubic feet and 690 billion below last year’s total for the same period. Working gas in storage totaled 3.458 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 up about 0.2% to $85.95, in a 52-week range of $72.16 to $89.30.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) traded up about 1.7%, at $4.47 in a 52-week range of $2.53 to $5.60.

EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) traded up about 0.9% to $126.41. The 52-week range is $94.87 to $131.60.

Also, the United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEARCA: UNG) traded up about 2.5%, at $25.25 in a 52-week range of $20.40 to $27.43.