U.S. Shale Boom Finally Runs Out of Gas
The correction in U.S. natural gas production has finally arrived. Volumes are down close to 5% since peaking in late 2015, driven by declines in associated gas and higher-cost legacy areas as well as ongoing curtailments and pipeline constraints across the Northeast United States. Natural gas prices have rallied as a result, with 2017 Henry Hub futures increasing almost 15%, to an average of $3 per thousand cubic feet.
With record power burn set to moderate, however, and as new pipelines are put into service across the Northeast, tight supply conditions should ease. By 2018, we expect prices to once again be governed by the considerable productive capacity of low-cost shale plays like the Marcellus, Utica, and Haynesville. Long-term demand tailwinds still appear favorable, although we continue to believe that at our midcycle prices of $3/mcf Henry Hub and $55/barrel West Texas Intermediate, there is more than enough economically profitable resource to meet growing consumption needs. The temporary spike in natural gas prices appears to be just that: temporary. Our long-term price assumption of $3/mcf is unchanged.
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