EIA natural gas stocks
The EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) published its natural gas stocks report on November 5, 2015. The government data showed that natural gas stocks rose by 52 Bcf (billion cubic feet) to 3,929 Bcf for the week ending October 30, 2015. Likewise, the natural gas stockpile rose by 63 Bcf to 3,877 Bcf for the week ending October 23, 2015. Cold winter weather led to the marginal rise in the natural gas inventory.
The natural gas inventory rose for the 31st consecutive week for the week ending October 30, 2015. Market surveys from Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal projected that natural gas stocks could rise by 57 Bcf and 58 Bcf, respectively, for the same period. The less-than-expected inventory supported natural gas prices in yesterday’s trade. As a result, natural gas prices rose more than 4% at the close of trade.
The EIA divides natural gas storage into three regions—the eastern, western, and producing regions. Natural gas stocks were below the five-year average in the eastern region. In contrast, natural gas stocks were above the five-year average in the western and producing regions. The EIA is expected to increase the storage regions later in 2015.
Meanwhile, the current natural gas stockpile is 10% more than the level of 3,558 Bcf in 2014. It’s also 3.9% more than the five-year average level of 3,782 Bcf. The record natural gas inventory will continue to weigh on natural gas prices.
The recent rise in natural gas prices could benefit natural gas producers like ConocoPhillips (COP), Newfield Exploration (NFX), Range Resources (RRC), Rice Energy (RICE), and Memorial Resource Development (MRD). These companies’ natural gas production mixes are more than 40% of their total production. The volatility in the oil and gas market also impacts ETFs like the PowerShares DB Energy ETF (DBE) and the PowerShares DWA Energy Momentum ETF (PXI).