Growth lies ahead for the North American gas industry as do anumber of risks and challenges, according to the just released”North American Natural Gas Trends 2000,” a joint report of ArthurAndersen and Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA).

“As we enter the new millennium we are also entering a new erafor the energy industry – the gas era,” said Everett Gibbs, ArthurAndersen managing director of Natural Gas Industry Services.”Throughout the 1990s the gas industry established its competitiveposition, now the industry faces a decade of unprecedented growth.This growth, fueled in large part by power generation, will requirea major increase in capital investment in gas supply.”

“The rapid growth in gas demand will be accompanied by two otherimportant forces that will define the industry in the decadeahead,” said Tom Robinson, CERA managing director. “First, thestructure of the industry will be altered by an ongoing wave ofconsolidation – particularly in energy distribution; and second,the revolution in information technology and e-commerce will alterthe way we use energy and ensure reliability.”

The study notes developments in several key supply regions. Inthe Gulf of Mexico, the study points to a major shift in thecomposition of gas supply from the Gulf that has happened over thelast decade. The deep-water Gulf represents a major new supply area- with production having grown from 0.5 Bcf/d in 1990 to more than3.5 Bcf/d by the end of the decade. Yet overall production in theGulf remained essentially flat due to a sharp decline in productionfrom the Continental Shelf. While growth in the deep-water islikely to continue at an even faster rate, slowing or reversing thedeclines in the Shelf is essential to growing overall U.S. supply.

The study also found several new frontiers for supply have begunto emerge. Atlantic Canadian gas as well as major new discoveriesin the southern part of the Northwest Territories will play abigger role in the future supply picture. Also, greater use and thereactivation of existing LNG facilities will accelerate over thenext five years, the study partners found. Longer-term, there isrenewed interest in Arctic gas — a major potential supply sourcethat will help reinforce gas reliability.

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