Natural Gas Inventory Unchanged, Price Declines Likely to Continue

Blue flames of a gas stove
Blue flames of a gas stove

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) today reported the U.S. natural gas stocks rose by a total of just 2 billion cubic feet last week, inline with an expected increase of 4 billion cubic feet. Natural gas futures prices were about 1.2% lower in advance of the EIA's report at around $3.34 per thousand cubic feet, and rose fractionally immediately following the EIA report.

The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled 3.8 trillion cubic feet, about 283 billion cubic feet higher than the five-year average of 3.52 trillion cubic feet. Working gas in storage totaled 3.76 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago.

Storage levels remain at or slightly above the top of the five-year range and the negligible draw on stocks will continue to weigh on the price of natural gas. Gas prices are down more than 15% from recent highs around $3.93 per thousand cubic feet. Above average temperatures in heavily populated areas of the U.S. are also expected to continue weighing on prices.

Here's how stocks 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, is down about 0.6% at $88.93 in a 52-week range of $77.13 to $93.67.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) is down about 1.2% at $16.76 in a 52-week range of $13.32 to $26.09.

EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) is down about 0.8% at $119.77 in a 52-week range of $82.48 to $124.49.

The US Natural Gas Fund (NYSEMKT: UNG) is down 1.2% at $19.11 in a 52-week range of $14.25 to $28.20. The Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSEMKT: OIH) is down about 0.3% at $38.96 in a 52-week range of $32.54 to $45.14. The first fund tracks spot prices; the second includes major drillers and services companies.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Commodities, Oil & Gas, Research Tagged: CHK, EOG, OIH, UNG, XOM