Although the US does not yet export crude oil or LNG from the lower 48, the oil and gas production boom that exploded onto the scene in the past few years is having knock-on effects in other countries. So which ones benefit and which are getting left behind?
Industry experts discussed the geopolitical implications associated with growing US hydrocarbon output during the Manhattan Institute’s recent American Oil and Gas Renaissance Conference.
“The new Caspian Sea is East Africa,” said journalist Steve LeVine, who pointed out that in addition to increased North American petroleum production there is growth elsewhere too. Anadarko and Eni plan to spend $50 billion in Mozambique by 2020, he said.
Any increase in US oil output pushes out imports, though this has a limited global price impact, said Sandy Fielden, RBN Energy Director of Energy Analytics. Cheap natural gas means cheap energy and right now lots of natural gas is being piped to Mexico, making it a big US shale gas production winner, said Fielden.
Japan would be a big winner from a US LNG export perspective, while Australia and Indonesia would be losers because their LNG would be more expensive than US supply, he said. Another big loser is Canada, due to lost market share.
Agreeing with Fielden, Ian Nathan, Manager of Global Gas and LNG at Energy Intelligence Research & Advisory said Canada’s “troubling irony” is having the resources, but lacking markets into which to sell them.
Nathan disagreed that Mexico is a winner, suggesting that cheap piped gas from the US is problematic because fueling unmet Mexican demand with US gas undermines motivation to develop indigenous resources.
Nathan also reminded the audience that while East Africa appears to have attractive resource potential, once these resources are proven and companies “de-risk below ground,” their above-ground risk increases.
And although Russia appears to be losing out now from US shale gas development because LNG cargoes diverted from the US landed in Europe and pushed out Russian gas, the drastic supply/demand shift spurred the Kremlin to action.
“Volumetric displacement cannot be ignored, but if it were not for the US boom the Kremlin would not have been motivated to lower oil tax rates and encourage tight resource development,” said Nathan.