Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cheaper gas, more problems for exploration and production industry

The New York Times has an article about the price of natural gas
collapsing due to oversupply caused by the economic crash, but also
by the globalization of natural gas supplies.

The decline in crude oil prices gets all the headlines, but the first globalized natural gas glut in history is driving an even more drastic collapse in the cost of gas that cooks food, heats homes and runs factories in the United States and many other countries.

Six giant plants capable of cooling and liquefying gas for export are due to come on line this year just as the economies of the Asian and European countries that import the most gas to run their industries are slowing.

Energy experts and company executives say that means loads of gas from Qatar, Egypt, Nigeria and Algeria that otherwise would be going to Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Spain are beginning to arrive in supertankers in the United States, even though there is a gas glut here, too.
For E&P in the USA, this will be bad, keeping prices below $4 until we reach peak gas
sometime in the next few decades. It will even out the normal swings in gas prices that is
normally seen in the USA, but it will cut the legs out from under yet another american industry.

For total oil recovery this will be bad as well as poorer countries monetize the gas in reservoirs instead of reinjecting it to maintain oil production. For production that has no
gas pipeline or method of selling the gas the only two options are reinjection or flaring or using
the gas locally. As more oil exporting countries have an opportunity to earn more hard cash
instead of maintaining reservoir pressure or selling cheap gas to the locals, I predict that
is what will happen.

The only good thing to come out of worldwide supplies and a worldwide glut will be the countries that depend on Russia for their gas supplies will have an alternative source of gas and won't have to depend on Putin to keep warm.

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