US natural gas rig count falls
Baker Hughes released its weekly crude oil and natural gas rig count data on August 28, 2015. The data showed that the active natural gas rig count fell by eight to 202 for the week ending August 28, 2015. Last week, the natural gas rig count dropped by one to 210 for the week ending August 21, 2015. This week was the seventh natural gas rig count fall in the last ten weeks.
The natural gas rig count has been falling due to the long-term lower natural gas prices that have resulted from oversupply concerns. Lower natural gas prices affect drilling activity. They also affect drillers like Superior (SPN), Schlumberger (SLB), and Halliburton (HAL). Oil and gas ETFs like the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) and the SPDR Oil and Gas ETF (XOP) are also impacted by falling natural gas prices.
Natural gas inventory estimates
The EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) reported that natural gas stocks rose by 69 Bcf (billion cubic feet) to 3,099 Bcf for the week ending August 21, 2015. The EIA is expected to release its natural gas report on September 3, 2015. Bloomberg surveys suggest that natural gas inventories could rise by 84 Bcf for the week ending August 28, which would be the 22nd consecutive week of increases.
Currently, natural gas inventories are 18.30% more than their 2,619 Bcf in 2014. They are also 2.90% above the five-year average inventory of 3,011 Bcf. The record natural gas stocks will continue to put pressure on natural gas prices.