Global Offshore Prospects
Comment of the Day

February 07 2011

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Global Offshore Prospects

Thanks to a subscriber for this interesting report by Steven Kopits for Douglas Westwood. Here are two sections of the oil/natural gas ratio:
Oil is three times as valuable as nat gas on a btu parity basis!
Oil-to-Gas Price Ratio on a BTU Parity Basis 1949-2009gpy
Reversion to historical relationship: natural gas as 'junk fuel' compared to oil?
We've seen this pattern before: '70's oil shocks
At first, the relative price of oil rose with OPEC actions
But over the next few years, natural gas re-valued as consumer economies switched over from oil.
Natural gas-not oil-was the primary beneficiary of the oil shocks
Natural gas will revalue against oil


Price arbitrage encourages greater use of and switching to natural gas
Pace of ratio decline similar to historical precedents
Oil price spike in 2012-2014 drives ratio and prices back up
Ensuing recession reduces energy prices
Price arbitrage trend continues afterwards to convenience discount' threshold
Modelled 1974-1983 period

Eoin Treacy's view High oil prices encourage substitution which has led to a significant increase in funding for renewable energy over the last decade. However, natural gas continues to offer a cost effective alternative because it is cheap, abundant and relatively clean. The exploitation of unconventional gas in the USA has the additional benefit of energy security.

Previously, the costing of renewable energy has been based on how competitive wind and solar are to oil because the sector's commonality was taken as a given. However, because US natural gas prices continue to diverge from the advance in other energy commodities, the appeal of this fuel source continues to improve. In a capitalist system, it is only a matter of time before the cost advantage of cheap abundant fuel is utilised. (Also see Comment of the Day on December 2nd).

Natural gas remains a game changer for the energy sector. A transition to greater utilisation of natural gas could reduce oil demand and ensure than the worst case scenarios proposed by peak oil advocates do not come to pass.

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