IMF on gas
- Written by Nick Grealy
- Published: 27 June 2011
If the NYT is to be believed, the US natural gas industry is riddled with secret doubts over shale gas. If so, they haven't reached that other governmental organisation the International Monetary Fund:
We show that US natural gas prices have decoupled from oil prices following substantial institutional and technological changes. We then examine how this interrelationship has evolved in Europe using data for Algeria, one of Europe’s key gas suppliers. Taking into account total gas exports and cyclical conditions in partner countries, we find that gas prices remain linked to oil prices, though the nexus has loosened. Both high oil prices and a modest industrial recovery in partner countries have kept gas exports at low levels in recent years, suggesting changing market forces. The paper then shows how such shifts can have important macroeconomic implications for a big gas exporter such as Algeria.
The impact is still five to ten years away, but the lessons for Algeria should be to accelerate shale gas production, speeding up efforts with ENI and others to produce more cheaper gas than to try the Russian strategy of pretending shale will go away. Interesting paper also has paralles for other Middle East exporters:
Middle East gas producers should step up economic diversification plans by easing reliance on gas exports as major shale discoveries in the US and other countries could create a glut in the global gas market, the IMF has said.
As I've pointed out before, if Algeria, or Saudi or Oman aren't worried about finding enough water to support shale extraction, aren't worries in Blackpool, of all places, rather exaggerated?