Skip to comments.Projected natural gas prices depend on shale gas resource economics
Posted on 08/29/2012 7:49:34 AM PDT by thackney
Considerable uncertainty exists regarding the size of the economically recoverable U.S. shale gas resource base and the cost of producing those resources. Across four shale gas resource scenarios from the Annual Energy Outlook 2012 (AEO2012), natural gas prices vary by about $4 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2035, demonstrating the significant impact that shale gas resource uncertainty has in determining future natural gas prices. This uncertainty exists primarily because shale gas wells exhibit a wide variation in their initial production rate, rate of decline, and estimated ultimate recovery per well (or EUR, which is the expected cumulative production over the life of a well).
If a resource assessment of a shale formation relies on "sweet spot" production rates, where wells produce at rates higher than expected elsewhere in the formation, then the productive and economic potential of the entire formation could be exaggerated. On the other hand, future technological improvements that reduce production costs and/or enhance well productivity, along with closer well spacing, would increase the economic potential and resource recovery of the U.S. shale gas formations.
AEO2012 includes an analysis of varying future shale gas well production estimates and the associated EUR, along with a change in shale gas well spacing, to test the influence of shale gas resource uncertainty on future natural gas prices. In addition to the reference case, the three AEO2012 shale gas resource scenarios are:
These cases do not represent a confidence interval for the shale gas resource base, but rather illustrate how different assumptions can affect projections of domestic production, prices, and consumption.
U.S. natural gas prices are determined by supply and demand conditions in the North American natural gas market, in which the United States constitutes the largest regional submarket. Future natural gas prices reflect the cost of developing incremental production capacity. Because shale gas production is projected to be a large proportion of U.S. and North American gas production, changes in the cost and productivity of U.S. shale gas wells have a significant effect on projected natural gas prices. In the Reference case, for example, shale gas production accounts for 49% of total U.S. natural gas production in 2035.
In 2031, natural gas prices dip in the low EUR case as model results reflect completion of an Alaska gas pipeline, which would transport about 1.6 trillion cubic feet per year of gas from the North Slope to the lower 48 states. Because an Alaska gas pipeline would make up for some of the reduction in lower 48 states' shale gas production, the difference between projected prices in the Reference and Low EUR case is reduced after the pipeline is completed.
...and if shale extraction is banned....then what?
That Alaska Gas Pipeline will not be built. It makes no sense today with the vast expansion of Lower 48 Shale Gas.
You don’t build the world’s most expensive pipeline to deliver Natural Gas to an area with a surplus of Natural Gas.
Keep in mind, that was only for the case of estimated ultimate recovery of shale gas wells are half of the expectation.
It would take something like a federal ban on hydraulic fracturing for that case to come true.
One more reason elections matter.
That is too far out of reality, given we have been producing from shale reserves going back to at least the 90s. What could happen is a reduction in the productivity, defined in that case above, something like banning hydraulic fracturing.
Whoops, make that the 20s. The 1820s
They’ll do it if they get the chance, I guarantee it.
It’s not that the left wants “clean” energy, they want NO energy for anyone but themselves.
There’s a Marx Brothers joke in there somewhere.
Way before their time.
Heck, that is before Mark Twain’s time.
Maybe it does make sense for export of LNG to Asia...
This article is five months old but may still be relevant; I did not find it in FR search.
It is the only economical choice for Natural Gas being sent out of the state (now, not in 2004~2008). There is not a lot of money to be made delivering milk in bulk to a large dairy farm. Same with sending a large amount of Natural Gas to an area with massive expansion in shale gas leading to huge price drops.