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Gas outlook is scary. In recent testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources of the Committee on Resources, Matt Simmons, President of Simmons & Co. International, described the growing natural gas supply imbalance and offered some solutions to correct it. Simmons says that natural gas demand will grow faster than once thought as America increases its electricity use, while supply continues to stay flat. Furthermore, the concept that gas supplies could grow to even partially meet a demand of around 30 Tcf a year is becoming a remote dream. If supply falls by as much as 10%, and the drop could be far worse, this could become America’s most serious energy wake-up call since the 1973 oil shock.
In March 2000, the National Petroleum Council (NPC) issued a report that presented a compelling case as to why gas supplies must grow from 22 Tcf to almost 30 Tcf by 2010. However, the U.S. already has on stream a number of gas-fired power plants that is very close to that which the NPC study assumed would be built by 2010. Simmons says there are almost as many additional gas-fired plants still under construction as have been built thus far, despite cancellations right and left in the wake of Enron and other energy traders’ scandals.
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