Natural Gas Inventory Falls as Expected

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 declined by 72 billion cubic feet last week, slightly less than the expected decrease of 74 billion cubic feet. Natural gas futures prices were about 1.8% higher in advance of the EIA's report at around $3.47 per thousand cubic feet, and experienced little change immediately following the EIA report.

The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled 3.65 trillion cubic feet, about 413 billion cubic feet higher than the five-year average of 3.24 trillion cubic feet. Working gas in storage totaled 3.57 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago.

Storage levels remain above the top of the five-year range and the draw on stocks is considerably below last year's draw of 87 billion cubic feet due to somewhat warmer weather. Gas prices remain down more than 15% from recent highs around $3.93 per thousand cubic feet.

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 1.2% at $85.80 in a 52-week range of $77.13 to $93.67.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) is down about 0.8% at $16.72 in a 52-week range of $13.32 to $26.09.

EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) is down about 1.6% at $119.71 in a 52-week range of $82.48 to $124.50.

The US Natural Gas Fund (NYSEMKT: UNG) is up 1.6% at $19.47 in a 52-week range of $14.25 to $27.00. The Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSEMKT: OIH) is down about 1.1% at $7.80 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, featured, OIH, UNG, XOM