Correction (5/15/2014): Please note the version of the 2014 Outlook Study linked here contains a number of minor corrections from the original release.
Released annually, the Gas Outlook provides a detailed ten-year overview of expected natural gas demand, supply availability, infrastructure development and prices in the Northwest. The Outlook offers unique insight, representing a consensus view of the regional natural gas market developed by industry participants directly serving Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia.
“The Natural Gas Outlook serves as an important point of reference for energy stakeholders in the Pacific Northwest,” said Ed Brewer, NWGA Board President and Vice President and General Manager of Williams Northwest Pipeline. “These stakeholders are navigating decisions concerning abundant North American natural gas supply options, existing and potential new markets and the infrastructure needed to bring the supply and demand together,” he added.
The 2014 release continues the trend of regional growth in natural gas demand, projecting an annual growth rate of 1.5%, up from 1.2% last year. Two scenarios, discussing the potential for accelerated growth in the power generation and industrial sectors, are new in this year’s report. Looming coal plant retirements and manufacturers seeking access to affordable North American gas supply led to these additions as a means of analyzing potential large changes in demand that do not show up in the regular Outlook data set.
“The 2014 Outlook demonstrates that our region remains in a period of steady growth in demand for natural gas,” said Dan Kirschner, NWGA Executive Director. “However, a number of indicators point toward the potential for significant expansion in the coming years, particularly for industrial uses, as a fuel for generating electricity and for export. Historically, our study hasn’t addressed prospective market developments until they’re reflected in the resource plans of regional utilities. However, the potential for increased natural gas loads due to the need to replace existing coal-fired generation and new opportunities in the industrial sector led to the inclusion of these developments as alternative scenarios in our analysis.”
The 2014 Outlook continues to indicate a potential need for new or expanded natural gas delivery infrastructure by the end of the decade. While the current delivery system operates efficiently and reliably, the study notes: “Industrial and generation demand above the expected case will amplify and accelerate the need for incremental capacity.”