Natural gas spot prices in 2015 at the Henry Hub in Louisiana averaged $2.61/MMBtu, the lowest annual average level since 1999, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The annual average spot price at Henry Hub of $2.61/MMBtu was $1.78/MMBtu, or 41%, lower than the 2014 average.
Daily prices fell below $2/MMBtu this year for the first time since 2012. Henry Hub spot prices began the year relatively low and fell throughout 2015, as production and storage inventories hit record levels and fourth-quarter temperatures were much warmer than normal, EIA said in a report.
Despite declining prices, total natural gas production, measured in terms of dry gas volume, averaged an estimated 74.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2015, 6.3% greater than in 2014.
This increase occurred even as the number of natural gas-directed drilling rigs decreased, EIA said.
As of December 18, there were 168 natural gas-directed rigs in operation, only about half the number of rigs at the beginning of 2015, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc. However, the remaining rigs are among the most productive, and producers have continued to make gains in drilling efficiency, EIA added.