Even in the face of low prices, U.S. natural gas production hit its highest level ever. Average daily output in the U.S. set a record in February of 73.3 Bcf, up about 2% from the previous month, Platts Bentek said. The Energy Information Administration reported March 24 that producers had begun stockpiling gas, signaling an unusually early end to the winter heating season.
Prices usually peak in winter, but instead declined steadily in the absence of cold weather. Gas futures for April delivery ended at $1.806 per million Btu, down roughly 40% since last May. Many analysts expect prices to remain at these levels until summer when electricity producers ramp up buying to meet demand for air-conditioning. There was nearly 2.5 Tcf in storage March 18, about 51% more than the five-year average for this time of year.