NEW YORK — (Source) The price of natural gas dropped back near a 10-year low Wednesday after Exxon Mobil and other energy companies declined to cut production.
Exxon, America’s biggest natural gas producer, has led a push by major industry players into U.S. gas drilling over the past few years that has boosted production to the highest levels ever. Supplies in storage are well above average, and some experts estimate the nation has enough natural gas to meet its needs for a century.
Investors hoped that Exxon would follow smaller competitors like Chesapeake Energy and shut down some natural gas rigs. But when it released its quarterly and annual earnings results Tuesday, Exxon said it will not slow natural gas production.
“We remain bullish on the future of natural gas as an energy source,” Exxon investor relations chief David Rosenthal said.
The company has started to shift its focus to developing more oil in the U.S., but “we have not curtailed any gas production,” Rosenthal said.
On Wednesday the price of natural gas fell 10 cents, or 4 percent, to $2.40 per 1,000 cubic feet in New York. That follows an 8 percent drop on Tuesday. Natural hit a 10-year low on Jan. 19 at $2.32 per 1,000 cubic feet. The price rose briefly, after Chesapeake and other companies said they would cut natural gas production. It slid back as investors lost faith that the reductions would significantly impact supplies and mild winter weather persisted, keeping demand weak.