Demand From LNG Terminals Would Likely Boost Natural Gas Prices

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By Greg Stiles

North American natural gas supplies soared beyond all previous expectations in recent years, keeping prices in check and creating potential new end users.

Jason Thackston, Avista Utilities’ senior vice president for energy resources, said Monday there is no reason to expect a decline in natural gas availability in coming years. Supply and demand, however, will keep suppliers and consumers on their toes.

“On the supply side, you’re going to see a lot of supply in North America and abundant sources going forward. More supply should help prices,” Thackston said after addressing the Chamber of Medford/Jackson County Forum at Rogue Valley Country Club.

“On the demand side, there are a couple of things that are at play right now, that have the potential to cause prices to go higher,” he said. “One is export LNG terminals proposed here in Oregon and elsewhere on the West Coast that could take natural gas from North America to other parts of the world, so that would increase demand and theoretically — with all other things being equal — raise prices.”

As government agencies push to curtail coal extraction and use of coal in power generation, the natural gas industry is well positioned, he said.

“As we see the national clean-energy initiatives that have the potential to drive more investment to natural gas generation,” Thackston said. “As we see coal generation and coal plants shut down, some of that will be replaced with wind, some of that will be replaced by solar, but a lot of that will probably be replaced by natural gas generation. That will be factored into the supply demand situation.”

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