Is Natural Gas Really the Next Big Thing? Part 3

A WCTA White Paper: J. Thomas Ranken, Washington Clean Technology Alliance, May 2012. See part 1 here.

…So Prices are Dropping

This dramatic increase in natural gas supply has put great pressure on prices.  In early 2011, John Deutch of MIT noted that “In the United States today, oil is three times as costly as natural gas for a given amount for energy ($12 per million BTUs compared to $4 per million BTUs), and that is almost double the ratio that has prevailed over the past twenty years.”[1]

In early 2012, the U.S. Energy Information Agency predicted that “with increased production, average annual wellhead prices for natural gas (will) remain below $5 per thousand cubic feet (2010 dollars) through 2023.[2]  Over the past decade, the price of gas has averaged $5.78 per million BTUs.[3]

US Natural Gas[4]

Proved Reserves (Trillion Cubic Meters)

In fact, on January 20, 2012, the spot price for natural gas had decreased to $2.37,[5] an eighty percent reduction since 2008.[6]  As Yergin puts it, “The potential here is enormous.”[7]

Natural Gas Prices

Spot Henry Hub | Dollars per Million British Thermal Units[8]

Historic Natural Gas Prices[9]


[1] Op. Cit., Deutch, p. 89.

[2] U.S. Energy Information Agency, Annual Energy Outlook 2012 Early Release Overview (23 January 2012).

[3] Op.Cit., O’Keefe, p. 80.

[4] Op. Cit., BP Statistical Review, p. 20.

[5] Robert Bryce, “How Fracking Lies Triumphed,” New York Daily News (22 January 2012).

[6] Op. Cit., Miller, p. A3.

[7] Op. Cit., Yergin, p. 330.

[8] U.S. Energy Information Agency, “Natural gas spot prices near 10-year lows amid warm weather and robust supplies,” Today in Energy (1 February 2012)

[9] Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Economic Research, “Natural Gas Price: Henry Hub, LA (GASPRICE),”, 2012.