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Gas Crisis Forum: Prices Pointing Skyward!

Gas prices are likely to remain high in the near term.
Fortnightly Magazine - August 2003
  1. Jim Tobin, Expansion and Change on the U.S. Natural Gas Pipeline Network - 2002, May 2003. This is the authoritative reference for the natural gas and related industries.
  2. New LNG capacity at Cove Point, Md., could soon push this total above 1 Bcf/day. The LNG facility at Cove Point already has a deliverability of 1 Bcf/day. Most recent price information available from the EIA indicates that LNG has been about 8 percent cheaper than the Henry Hub price. However, whether the cost of LNG will remain below the HH price is hard to tell, since there is an active spot and long-term contract market for LNG. Moreover, because of the large size of each LNG capacity addition relative to the existing market, each new addition can significantly change the price and the complexion of the market. Nonetheless, some longer -term contracts for LNG could serve as a physical hedge for utilities, much like conventional storage reservoirs, while short-term spot contracts could help to satisfy peak demand. For recent studies and summaries of the recent hot topic of LNG markets see Damien Gaul, "U.S. LNG Markets and Uses," January 2003, Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy. Paul Sanket, Caroline Cook and J.J. Traynor, "LNG … going… going … Gone Global," Deutsche Bank AG, May 2, 2003. Carol Crowfoot, "U.S. Natural Gas Supply Dilemma: Is LNG the Answer?" Canadian Natural Gas Focus, GLJ Energy Publications Inc., Calgary, Alberta, Canada, May 2003. In addition to analysis the latter monthly publication also contains extensive information on Canadian/U.S. markets, such as export pipeline utilization.
  3. This is only 920 million cubic feet less than total lower-48 domestic production in 2001 of 19.32 Tcf. Energy Information Administration, U. S. Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Natural Gas Liquids Reserves, 2001 Annual Report, November 2002. The 1994 Reserves Report contains information for 1994.
  4. U.S. Department of Interior, Agriculture and Energy, Scientific Inventory of Onshore Federal Lands' Oil and Gas Resources and Reserves and the Extent and Nature of Restrictions or Impediments to their Development, the Paradox - San Juan- Uinta/Piceance, Greater Green River and Powder River Basins and the Montana Thrust Belt, January 2003.
  5. One reason for relying heavily on the initial EIA estimates of residential consumption is that they are more reliable than many of their other initial estimates. Unreliability contributes to price uncertainty.
  6. Reuters, "Apache to market its own U.S. natural gas," June 24, 2003.
  7. It is telling that Steve Ewing of DTE Energy and chair of the AGA Task Force on Gas Supply at the National Petroleum Councils Natural Gas Summit was quoted in an AGA press release on June 26 as stating, "State public utility commissions should pre-authorize utility requests to purchase certain volumes of natural gas at set prices under long-term contracts."

The Makings of a Supply Crisis?

Outlining the fundamental factors that are keeping natural gas supplies tight.

  • Price volatility remains high, although there is a chance due to uncertain weather and other factors 1 that prices could move below $3.00 by end of year. Yet, expected price levels under normal conditions are most