Slower-than-usual rig count growth, fewer uncompleted wells and a shrinking coal generation fleet are contributing to an atypical natural gas market recovery, according to analysts with ConocoPhillips.


At the LDC Gas Forum Southeast in Savannah, GA, on Monday, ConocoPhillips’ Matt Henderson, a senior market analyst, said the industry had entered “a bit of a new market.”

To illustrate, he pointed out that exploration and production (E&P) companies added rigs at a slower rate during the 2020-2021 price recovery than in the previous rebound in 2016-2017. Rig additions for the most recent period totaled only 246 units, compared to 497 units in 2016-2017, he noted, acknowledging that fleetwide rig efficiency improvements could contribute to the slower pace.

“And this is...