WASHINGTON (AP) Natural gas production is booming across the country, fueled by soaring demand from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and the use of advanced technologies such as horizontal drilling and horizontal wells.
But the nation’s largest gas producer and largest domestic producer are facing the prospect of more of the same: more natural gas drilling and fracking.
“There’s a big problem, if you look at our market right now, which is natural gas,” said Paul Wojcicki, senior vice president of research at energy consulting firm Baker Hughes.
“We’ve got the best and the brightest, and they’re being pushed out.”
Natural gas is now the most abundant natural gas in the country and the cheapest in decades.
Gas prices have fallen sharply since fracking began in 2010.
But that is not enough to lift prices above $3 a million cubic feet (MMBtu), a level considered the benchmark for prices and other indicators.
Gas is now about $3 per MMBtu.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week that gas production increased 3.6 percent in the second quarter of this year to 3.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcmpd).
Gas production is expected to peak next year, with gas prices hovering around $6 a million MMBtpd.
That would put natural gas production at a record-low 1.8 billion bpd, according to the BLS.
Gas prices are expected to fall again next year to $3.40 a MMBu and are expected at that price to be below $3, according the BIS.
Gas has been cheap in many parts of the country as the economy recovers from the financial crisis, which has caused billions of dollars of debt to pile up and prompted a nationwide stock market sell-off.
Gas production in the United States peaked in 2007 at 6.8 million bpd and has fallen in recent years, from more than 7 million bp in 2010 to about 5.5 million bps last year.
Gas is now priced at $2.20 a Mmbtu.
Gas markets were largely shut down in the first quarter of 2018 after U.N. sanctions on Iran and Russia blocked imports of the fuel.
But some natural gas traders said the sanctions were lifted in January.
The International Energy Agency has forecast that U.A.E. natural gas imports will be cut by up to 60 percent in 2019 and 2020, from 7.2 billion cubic meters in 2019 to 5.7 billion cubic mbs in 2020.
Gas producers in other parts of Europe and Canada, which have been struggling to keep up with demand, are also facing tough times.
The price of natural gas rose last month to more than $4 a Mbu, above $4.00 a Mmba in the euro area.
Gas supplies from Russia and the United Arab Emirates are also falling.
The U.K. and France, which rely heavily on Russian gas, are considering measures to cut back on natural gas exports.
“We’re not going to be able to run this business, even if we had a miracle,” said Mark Zucman, chief energy economist at Barclays in New York.
Gas production has fallen sharply in the U.H.K., which supplies gas to England and other countries, as well as in some Asian countries, including Australia.
But some gas companies are trying to find ways to recover from the crisis.
In Australia, gas producers are struggling to get supplies to consumers, and some have closed their terminals, citing the crisis in the world’s third-largest economy.In the U