Daniel Yergin on Gas Markets

September 29, 2021

Bloomberg:

If there’s any country that might’ve been in a position to rescue Europe from its energy crisis, it’s the U.S. — home to vast shale fields holding a seemingly endless supply of natural gas and giant terminals capable of liquefying it and shuttling it abroad. 

Instead, for a multitude of reasons, U.S. shale is in no position to bail out Europe. Indeed, supplies are so tight that Americans are staring down their own supply squeeze — and the accompanying sky-high utility bills.

U.S. stockpiles haven’t been replenished as much as usual in recent months after summer heatwaves sent energy demand soaring and the post-pandemic industrial recovery diverted fuel to power plants and factories. Meanwhile, many major shale drillers have been funneling cash to shareholders and focusing on climate goals rather than boosting production.

The result: There’s very little supply cushion in the U.S., and whatever is available for export as liquefied natural gas is going to be fought over — not just by desperate European importers, but also by buyers in Asia, who face an energy crunch of their own and are willing to pay a premium.

This reality is a stark change from recent years that saw a steady domestic surplus and government efforts to promote exports as “molecules of U.S. freedom.” Americans are likely to face some of their highest energy bills in years. New York-traded gas futures have more than doubled so far in 2021, and the peak-demand season hasn’t even begun. The U.S. benchmark price jumped to a seven-year high this week, and it could more than double in the next few months, according to research firm BTU Analytics.

“In theory, the U.S. is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas, but the reality is we have no new gas coming online,” said Campbell Faulkner, the chief data officer at OTC Global Holdings LP who formerly worked in risk-management and analysis at Royal Dutch Shell Plc and JPMorgan Chase & Co. “These prices tell you how worried people are about not having enough gas.”

The consequences could go well beyond household heating bills. Europe stands as example of what could unfold, with its disastrous supply shortage leading to record prices, widespread corporate failures in the U.K. power market and the continent’s biggest chemicals producer BASF SE cutting output as its feedstock costs soar. And of course, prolonged gains for energy prices are compounding concerns about inflation and adding to the rising costs businesses are already shouldering for raw materials.

5 Responses to “Daniel Yergin on Gas Markets”

  1. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    So stop pissing around and build reliable turn key carbon free nukes.

  2. gmrmt Says:

    Given the recent Texas fiasco and resultant sky high prices why spend money expanding your gas production which will only come on line by next spring at the earliest when you can just do what you’re already doing and watch prices skyrocket this winter?


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: