Research Paper: Shale Wells Lead to Long-Term Low Prices

RFF-DP-16-32-coverIs unconventional (i.e. shale) natural gas supply more responsive to price changes than conventional gas? A new research paper suggests that the answer is yes–specifically, almost three times as responsive, because shale gas wells are far more productive (2.7x more) than conventional gas wells. In “Trophy Hunting vs. Manufacturing Energy: The Price-Responsiveness of Shale Gas” (full copy below), researchers from Resources for the Future (RFF), a nonpartisan think tank devoted exclusively to natural resource and environmental issues, takes a look at how the “new way” of drilling multiple wells from a single pad, which is akin to a manufacturing process, is flattening out the supply curve. A flattened supply curve reduces price volatility–the wild up and down swings in the commodity price of natgas. While the focus of the paper is on how shale wells are leading to lower and more stable prices over the long term and does a deep dive into economic models, the paper also contains a good, basic primer on drilling a shale well. We found it a good read and wanted to share it with you…

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