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  • Increasing role of unconventional gas could keep rigs active even during downturn


    Leonard Parent

    If you’re in the gas marketing end of the natural gas business, 2008 was an experience unlike any other, watching gas prices follow oil prices into the stratosphere and then crash back to where they had been. Shale, coalbed methane and other unconventional gas plays continued to supply about 40% of total US gas production. Advances in horizontal drilling and fracturing technology made it possible by substantially increasing productivity per well. Meanwhile, bottlenecks are being resolved by pipeline expansions that are well underway to move coalbed methane and shale gas from developing sources, with more pipeline capacity yet to come. The LNG option has added to the supply side of the equation, and it came on the scene at a good time. Inasmuch as LNG is a global commodity, the price is determined by the world market and not by US buyers. This adds another dimension to the gas price basket. Elsewhere, Gulf of Mexico supply is a growing concern, deliverability from existing reserves is declining,

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