Natural-gas prices are skyrocketing globally, flummoxing policy makers. As parts of the world emerge from the pandemic, energy demand is up and supply down after the cold winter of 2020, worsening temperature extremes, severe drought in South America, and other shortages caused by geopolitical tensions. Here in the U.S.,natural gas prices are up about 100% from a year ago. In the U.K., they’re up about 500%.
Normally, a spike in prices induces energy companies to increase production, but not this time. Energy prices fell by as much as 70% early in the pandemic. According to a New York Times report, energy executives are not willing to increase production because they are still experiencing the trauma from the crash, and Wall Street is hesitant to fund exploration because of new pressures to meet climate and ESG (environmental, social, governance) goals.