U.S. shale operators boost natural gas drilling for first time since July 2023

David Wethe, Bloomberg September 15, 2023

(Bloomberg) – Shale operators in the U.S. ramped up natural gas drilling this week for the first time in more than two months, pressuring prices for the power-plant fuel lower.

Nationwide, the number of rigs searching for gas rose by 8 to 121. Gas rigs in the Eagle Ford shale play in South Texas more than doubled this week to five, according to data released Friday by Baker Hughes Co. That’s the biggest weekly jump in the region since March 17.

Benchmark U.S. gas futures tumbled as much as 2.5% after the data was released, touching an intraday low of $2.641 per million British thermal units.

The domestic natural gas market is expected to remain “extremely volatile” for the rest of this year as explorers push for more pipelines and liquefied natural gas facilities to export the commodity overseas, according to EQT Corp., the biggest U.S. gas producer.

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