Coronavirus impact on exploration and productionNew exploration ventures have seen proved natural gas reserves in the U.S. increase over the last few years. However, as the coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted exploration and production operations throughout 2020, reserves volumes declined that year,with many oil and gas companies brought to the brink of bankruptcy. Those specializing in shale were particularly hard hit, with Chesapeake Energy, a shale pioneer, the most prominent victim. In 2020, natural gas production in the U.S. fell to 914.6 billion cubic meters, down from a peak of 930 billion cubic meters the previous year. As a result, the U.S. oil and gas extraction industry’s value added similarly declined, falling to the lowest value since 2003.
Another impactful event was the February 2021 power crisis in Texas brought about by winter storm Uri. Many refineries in the state were left without power or had to preemptively shut down their operations, resulting in the Henry Hub price soaring to over 12 U.S. dollars per million British thermal units – a price hike not seen since 2008.