Natural gas prices depend on economic growth and resource recovery rates among other factors
Future levels of natural gas prices depend on many factors, including macroeconomic growth rates and expected rates of resource recovery from natural gas wells. Higher rates of economic growth lead to increased consumption of natural gas (primarily in response to higher levels of housing starts, commercial floorspace, and industrial output), causing more rapid depletion of natural gas resources and a more rapid increase in the cost of developing new production, which push natural gas prices higher. The converse is true in the Low Economic Growth case.
A lower rate of recovery from oil and gas wells implies higher costs per unit and higher prices. A higher rate of recovery implies lower costs per unit and lower prices. In comparison with the Reference case, the Low Oil and Gas Resource case assumes lower estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) from each shale well or tight well. The High Oil and Gas Resource case represents a more extreme case, with higher estimates for recoverable crude oil and natural gas resources in tight wells and shale formations and for offshore resources in the lower 48 states and Alaska.
In both cases, there are mitigating effects that dampen the initial price response from the demand or supply shift. For example, lower natural gas prices lead to an increase in natural gas exports, which places some upward pressure on natural gas prices. In addition, lower prices are likely to lead to less drilling for natural gas and lower production potential, placing some upward pressure on natural gas prices.