Natural Gas Prices Steady on Expected Gain in Inventories

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 increased by 95 billion cubic feet last week, within the range for an expected build of between 94 billion and 98 billion cubic feet anticipated by analysts. Natural gas futures prices were up fractionally in advance of the EIA's report, at around $3.74 per million BTUs, and rose to around $3.79 immediately following the report.

The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled 2.35 trillion cubic feet, about 58 billion cubic feet lower than the five-year average of 2.41 trillion cubic feet. Working gas in storage totaled 2.93 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago. Natural gas inventories remain roughly in the middle of the five-year range.

Milder weather in the Northeast offset warmer weather in the South, dampening demand for cooling. The weather forecast for the coming week indicates warmer weather across Texas and the Southeast, with normal or below normal reading due elsewhere. Demand increases due to outages at U.S. nuclear plants was also lower than a year ago.

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 up 0.4%, at $90.05 in a 52-week range of $79.78 to $93.67.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) is down 0.9%, at $20.90 in a 52-week range of $16.23 to $22.97.

EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) is up 0.2%, at $129.86 in a 52-week range of $82.48 to $139.00.

The US Natural Gas Fund (NYSEMKT: UNG) is up 0.8%. at $20.31 in a 52-week range of $15.32 to $24.09. The Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSEMKT: OIH) is up 1%, at $42.72 in a 52-week range of $32.54 to $45.80. The first fund tracks spot prices; the second includes major drillers and services companies.

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