Looking ahead to next year, Societe Generale analyst Breanne Dougherty says natural gas demand growth "is all but certain" and drillers will have to step up.
In a note published earlier this month, Dougherty projected a "modest" decline in power generation demand but accompanied by demand strengthening coming from export and industrial growth. Compared to the mild 2015-2016 winter, the next one will likely bring stronger gas demand demand, she said.
"Tapping the uncompleted well backlog is estimated to be able to provide approximately 2 Bcf/d to the production base through the end of 2017; but between the natural decline of shale wells and the rise of demand, the call on new drill gas volumes will be strong."
Hopefully those gas drillers will be awake enough to hear the phone ring. No natural gas-directed rigs returned to action in the most recent week of activity tallied by Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI), and four rigs left the gas patch in Canada.
Overall in the United States for the week, land-based rigs gained nine units to end at 470 active. One offshore rig was added, too, which brought that total to 18 active. All of the U.S. rigs that came back were oil-focused, bringing that total to 406. Natural gas rigs held steady at 83 units active. Seven horizontal rigs came back, accompanied by one directional and two verticals. Texas led the states with eight rigs added, and the Permian led plays, having added seven rigs.
In Canada, four natural gas rigs left play, accompanied by one "miscellaneous" rig, dropping the country's total by five units to end at 121 rigs active. That left North America with a net gain of five units to end at 612.