A Deloitte study shows that US natural gas prices are likely to be higher than anticipated by the industry and the futures prices. Natural gas prices in real terms (i.e., today’s dollars) grow by about 50% between 2011 and 2020, or 4.0% per year. Below are a few extracts from the paper.
"Prices escalate in real terms, reflecting demand growth, the rising cost of finding and developing domestic gas resources, and the projected future costs of pipeline and LNG imports. However, despite burgeoning U.S. demand for gas-fired power generation, natural gas prices are not projected to reach the peak prices seen several years ago.
In real terms (i.e., constant 2011 dollars), benchmark U.S. Henry Hub spot prices increase from an annual average of $4.53 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2011 to $6.75 per MMBtu in 2020, before rising to $7.87 per MMBtu in 2030 in the Reference scenario. Escalating real prices by an annual inflation rate (estimated at 2.0%), yields nominal prices which can be compared to NYMEX futures prices. The nominal price in 2022, the final year of NYMEX futures prices, is projected to be $8.67, substantially higher than the NYMEX futures price (June 23, 2011) average of $7.66 for the same year.
Current depressed natural gas price levels would likely be insufficient to induce natural gas producers to make the level of capital investments required to meet the projected strong rise in demand. As production depletes the “sweet spots” of gas deposits with the lowest production costs, prices ramp up to reflect the higher cost of production in new fields."