Natural gas prices buoyed by another strong storage report


HOUSTON — Natural gas futures drifted higher Thursday morning, after weekly data revealed a smaller-than-expected build in inventories last week.

The benchmark next month contract for the fuel gained 3.2 cents, up 1.2 percent to $2.791 per million British thermal unit in early trading Thursday.

The gain came after U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed that commercial stores of natural gas rose by 75 billion cubic feet for the week ending June 19. The build came in under what most analysts thought it would be — an average of 21 estimates compiled by Bloomberg had expected a storage build of 78 billion cubic feet.

A similar situation played out in the previous reporting period (for the week ending June 12), when analysts posted an average estimate of a 92 billion cubic foot increase and only saw 89 billion cubic feet of gas enter storage.

Combined, the reports have added to a sense that the U.S. is either producing less or consuming more natural gas than traders previously thought. Or, others have suggested, short-term effects have pushed injections into storage lower. (By (Robert Grattan), Fuel Fix, Houston Chronicle)


Also, Read our look at the prices in the US.