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Natural Gas Craters After Weak Demand, Glut Blindside Bulls

  • Demand has dwindled during pandemic-driven lockdowns
  • Inventories rose by more than normal for the time of year
A horizontal drilling rig on a natural gas pad in Washington County, Pennsylvania.

A horizontal drilling rig on a natural gas pad in Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Updated on

For all the heat waves and hurricanes that have wreaked havoc in America this year, nothing has stopped the nation’s natural gas supplies from swelling, with a massive stockpile gain blindsiding traders on Thursday and sending prices plunging by the most in almost two years.

U.S. inventories of the heating and cooling fuel expanded by 89 billion cubic feet to 3.614 trillion cubic feet last week, well above any analyst’s expectations. Stocks are growing despite two back-to-back heat waves that broke records across the western U.S., extreme temperatures that baked New York earlier this year, multiple hurricanes that have temporarily shut gas rigs across the Gulf of Mexico and La Nina threatening a more extreme winter chill in the north.