LNG May Not be a Panacea for Marcellus/Utica NatGas Producers

Last November MDN editor Jim Willis attended a Genscape/Bloomberg joint event in New York City (at Bloomberg’s offices) called “Gas and Power Winter Outlook 2015.” It was part advertisement for the Bloomberg terminal and the many fantastic resources available on their terminal, part advertisement for Genscape and the truly unique and innovative services they provide, along with a healthy sprinkling of predictions about where the natural gas market will head over the winter months. Jim enjoyed it a great deal because it provided perspective on the larger worldwide market and how it drives our markets here at home. One very interesting thing Jim learned was this: Asian countries in general, and Japan in particular, are reducing their need for LNG (liquefied natural gas) because, in the case of Japan, the country is starting up its nuclear energy program again, and because solar energy is coming online and providing a greater share of the country’s electric needs. With more nuclear and solar, Japan needs less LNG. Here in the U.S., particularly in the Marcellus/Utica region, we have pegged a lot of our hopes on a robust export market for our natural gas. But what if that market is disappearing right before our eyes? That’s kind of the upshot of a new report just released by economists at global consulting firm The Brattle Group. The report, called “LNG and Renewable Power: Risk and Opportunity in a Changing World” (full copy below), takes a close look at the competition playing out between renewable energy like solar and wind and natural gas-fired electric from LNG…

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