Thursday, November 24, 2011

U.S. Shale Boom Reduces Russian Influence Over European Gas Market

The U.S. shale gas boom has not only virtually eliminated the need for U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports for at least two decades, but significantly reduced Russia’s influence over the European natural gas market and "diminished the petro power" of major gas producers in the Middle East and Venezuela.

According to a study by Rice University’s Baker Institute, "Shale Gas and U.S. National Security", U.S. shale gas has substantially reduced Russia’s market share in Europe from 27 percent in 2009 to 13 percent by 2040, reducing the chances that Moscow can use energy as a tool for political gain.

European customers now have an alternative supply to Russian gas in the form of LNG displaced from the U.S. market. The shale boom also has exerted pressure on the status quo by indexing gas sales to a premium marker determined by the price of petroleum products. Russia already has had to accept lower prices for its gas and is now allowing a portion of its sales in Europe to be indexed to spot gas markets, or regional market hubs, rather than oil prices.

"This change in pricing terms signals a major paradigm shift," noted study authors Kenneth B. Medlock III, Amy Myers Jaffe, and Peter R. Hartley. Investment in LNG export facilities in the Middle East and Africa during the 1990s also have been rendered obsolete.....Read the entire Rigzone article.

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