AUDIE CORNISH: From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. Oil giant BP reported its second-quarter finances today and the numbers were something of a surprise. The company lost $1.4 billion dollars during a three-month period. That's quite a drop from the nearly $6 billion dollars in profit the company raked in during the same period last year. As NPR's Jeff Brady reports, BP blames much of the loss on lower energy prices
JEFF BRADY: Oil companies have been among the most profitable corporations in recent years as prices steadily went up. World crude soared to nearly $130 a barrel this spring. But since then prices have fallen rapidly, dropping almost 30 percent. In a conference call with investors, BP's chief executive, Bob Dudley, said very low natural gas prices also hurt his company's bottom line.
BOB DUDLEY: To be profitable, this has been a particularly brutal quarter in terms of low gas prices, hitting a low of $1.94.
BRADY: That's per 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas, which is enough to supply the average U.S. home for four days. Just a few years back the price was more than five times higher. The reason for the big drop is a big boost in natural gas drilling, thanks in large part to new technologies like hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Rocco Canonica is with Bentek Energy, a Colorado company that monitors natural gas markets.
ROCCO CANONICA: Natural gas production in the United States has grown about 30 percent from 2005 to 2011, so that's a huge increase in gas production and it's outpaced demand growth.
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