Poor natural gas. While there has been a major resurgence in oil, prices for its gassy friend have remained depressed. The market fundamentals are just that bad.
The saving grace for natural gas is that as producers back out of rig contracts with folks like Nabors Industries
Everybody in the oil patch knows about this effect, and hence expects (hopes for?) a return to higher natural gas prices later this year or early in 2010. A mitigating factor that few seem to be talking about is the ever-growing efficiency of leading independents like Anadarko Petroleum
For the latest quarter, Anadarko highlighted its lower spud-to-spud cycle times in the Wattenberg field, one of the company's best onshore assets. This has allowed the company to drill 32 more wells in the first half of 2009 compared with the same period in 2008, while using fewer rigs. Thanks to field-level improvements like this, Anadarko's quarterly natural gas production rose more than 2% from the previous quarter. While that's more subdued than the growth at curtailment-canceling Chesapeake Energy
By being such efficient operators, exploration and production companies like Range Resources
Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. Check out his CAPS profile or follow his articles using Twitter or RSS. Chesapeake Energy is an Inside Value pick. The Motley Fool owns shares of Chesapeake Energy and XTO Energy. The Fool has a very efficient disclosure policy.