The Outlook continues to include current data and narrative on supply and prices, but more as background information because North American natural gas is projected to be an ample, low-priced commodity for the foreseeable future. However, the true value of the Outlook – aggregating and analyzing regional demand and delivery infrastructure data to inform policymakers and other stakeholders throughout the Northwest – remains the report’s core focus. Updated numbers and our forecast are presented in the Demand section and an expanded Capacity section, and in the appendices. We’ve also added two deeper dive articles exploring renewable natural gases and upstream methane emissions. The 2020 Gas Outlook is now available by clicking here.
On April 16, Dan Kirschner will present the 2020 Gas Outlook on a live webinar. Register now by clicking here.
NWGA’s 2018 Gas Outlook
To view the appendices click here and to watch the webinar presentation for the 2018 Gas Outlook Study, go to the Northwest Gas Association’s YouTube channel by clicking here or click the video link below.
In this study, we examine several dynamics affecting Pacific Northwest natural gas consumers. The Outlook relies primarily on external, publicly available resources for information on natural gas supply prospects and commodity prices. Regional demand and capacity data are drawn from NWGA member company planning processes, including the Integrated Resource Plans that our members are required to file with utility commissions.
The study provides a consensus industry perspective on the current and projected natural gas supply, prices, demand and delivery capabilities in the Pacific Northwest through the 2027/28 heating year (Nov–Oct). For purposes of this report, the Pacific Northwest includes British Columbia (BC), Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
Natural gas has been a boon for consumer’s pocketbooks, the environment, and our Pacific Northwest lifestyle. It warms us when it’s chilly out and reheats water after a hot shower. Natural gas
has earned the superlative, “Now we’re cooking with gas!!” It is an efficient, clean, abundant and affordable energy resource. Innovative practices and technology enhancements have unlocked vast reserves of North American natural gas and oil that were previously inaccessible. Scarce and costly just 10 years ago, natural gas is now abundant and inexpensive. Plentiful, inexpensive natural gas has saved Northwest consumers hundreds of millions of dollars over the last decade.
Natural gas is used to manufacture thousands of products that we rely on every day. Thanks
to natural gas, the Seahawks have cleats, kids have crayons, farmers have fertilizer, and we have cell phones, computers…even kayaks and other equipment to enjoy our spectacular natural environment.
In addition, natural gas is growing in importance as a fuel for generating electricity since it is a low-cost option and cleaner than coal. Renewable wind and solar energy rely on natural gas generation because it’s a reliable, on-demand resource that’s available when it isn’t windy or the sun isn’t shining.
“The Natural Gas Outlook helps to inform decisions made by energy stakeholders in the Pacific Northwest,” said Kirschner. “Natural gas is a vital part of the Northwest energy picture. Stakeholders tell us that having access to the information presented in the Outlook is invaluable,” he added.
The 2015 release notes that North America’s robust natural gas supply picture persists and that natural gas is expected to remain a good value throughout the forecast period when compared to other energy sources. Regional demand for natural gas is expected to grow an average of 1.2 percent per year. The use of natural gas to fuel electric generation is the largest driver of demand growth, as the region develops new gas fired generation to serve load growth and more flexible gas fired resources to complement intermittent renewable generation like wind and solar.
“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.
Regionally, the demand growth projections in this 2013 Outlook remain modest across most sectors reflecting expected economic conditions (see 2013 Regional Economic Outlook). Gas use for generating electricity shows the most significant growth in the forecast period. Meanwhile, Northwest consumers are benefitting as regional gas distribution companies (LDCs) pass the lower cost of natural gas through to customers.
Released annually, the Gas Outlook is a detailed ten-year look at expected natural gas demand, supply availability 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.
“We have seen unprecedented change in the natural gas industry over the past few years,
” said Frank Morehouse, NWGA Board President. “The Gas Outlook helps industry observers gain insight on what those changes mean for our region,” he added.
Breakthroughs in drilling technology have unlocked vast reserves of shale gas, replacing past concerns over declining production with plentiful supply. Regional demand for natural gas is expected to grow annually by an average of 0.9 percent per year, leading to a cumulative growth of 8.1 percent by 2021. The role of natural gas as a fuel to generate electricity is a key question discussed in the 2012 Gas Outlook.