Natural Gas Prices Put Halt to Price Gains

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 91 billion cubic feet last week, compared with the expected build of between 89 billion cubic feet anticipated by analysts. Natural gas futures prices were up about 1% in advance of the EIA's report, at around $3.95 per million BTUs, and fell to around $3.85 immediately following the EIA report.

The EIA reported that U.S. working stocks of natural gas totaled 2.44 trillion cubic feet, about 47 billion cubic feet lower than the five-year average of 2.49 trillion cubic feet. Working gas in storage totaled 3 trillion cubic feet for the same period a year ago. Natural gas inventories remain roughly in the middle of the five-year range.

Expectations of warmer weather had pushed up prices during the past week. The weather forecast for the coming week indicates warmer weather across most of the country, which should support natural gas 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 1% at $90.17 in a 52-week range of $79.78 to $93.67.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) is down 2.3% at $20.32 in a 52-week range of $16.23 to $22.97.

EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) is down 2.3% at $132.45 in a 52-week range of $82.48 to $139.00.

The US Natural Gas Fund (NYSEMKT: UNG) is down 1.7% at $20.70 in a 52-week range of $17.38 to $24.09. The Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSEMKT: OIH) is down 1.9% at $42.91 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: Energy (Economy) Tagged: CHK, EOG, OIH, UNG, XOM