JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The United States (US) Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday that domestic supplies of natural gas fell by 149 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ended March 1. The data shows that Natural Gas Stocks Change in the US averaged -0.73 Bcf from 1994 until 2019, reaching an all time high of 147 Bcf in July of 2003 and a record low of -359 Bcf in January of 2018.
The 149 Bcf pull for the week ended March 1 compares with a 60 Bcf withdrawal for the year-ago period and a five-year average pull of 109 Bcf. It also fell on the higher side of consensus expectations.
Natural gas futures for April delivery traded at US$2.845 per million British thermal units, up less than half a cent, or 0.1%, from Wednesday’s settlement. It was at $2.859 before the supply data.
Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting a storage withdrawal of around 140 Bcf. The five-year average for the week is a withdrawal of 109 Bcf, and last year’s withdrawal totaled 57 Bcf. Natural gas inventories fell by 166 Bcf in the week ending February 22.
Total US stockpiles decreased week over week, falling to around 14.9 percent below last year’s level and to 25 percent below the five-year average.
The EIA reported that US working stocks of natural gas totaled about 1.390 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) at the end of last week, around 464 Bcf below the five-year average of 1.854 Tcf and 243 Bcf below last year’s total for the same period. Working gas in storage totaled 1.633 Tcf for the same period a year ago.
Here’s how share prices of the largest US natural gas producers reacted to this latest report:
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), the country’s largest producer of natural gas, traded up about 0.5 percent, at $ 79.67 in a 52-week range of $ 64.65 to $ 87.36. While Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) traded down about 0.2 percent at $ 2.98 in a 52-week range of $ 1.71 to $ 5.60. And EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG) traded down about 0.6 percent to $ 91.35. The 52-week range is $ 82.04 to $ 133.53. Furthermore, the United States Natural Gas ETF (NYSEARCA: UNG) traded flat at $ 25.10, in a 52-week range of $ 21.65 to $ 39.87.
Prior to Thursday’s report, major surveys had pointed to a number in the 141-145 Bcf range, with estimates as high as 155 Bcf and as low as 123 Bcf. Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) EIA financial weekly index futures had settled at a withdrawal of 150 Bcf.
The data shows a large withdrawal next week driven by colder-than-normal weather to start March would bring stocks that much closer to a one Tcf end-of-season carryout. ICE EIA end of draw index futures settled Wednesday at 1.045 Bcf, down 15 Bcf from the previous settle.
Total Lower 48 working gas in underground storage stood at 1.390 Bcf as of March 1, down 243 Bcf (15 percent) year/year and 464 Bcf (25 percent) below the five-year average, according to EIA.
By region, the Midwest posted a 47 Bcf week/week withdrawal, while 43 Bcf was withdrawn in the East. In the South Central, EIA reported a 41 Bcf pull, including 19 Bcf withdrawn from salt stocks and 22 Bcf taken from nonsalt. The Pacific saw a 10 Bcf pull, with 6 Bcf withdrawn in the Mountain region, according to EIA.
Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories