Overwhelming optimism for natural gas future

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There's optimism across the natural gas industry that future growth will be as plentiful as domestic shale gas reserves, according to a Black & Veatch report.

When asked about their view of the industry's future growth, 92 percent of respondents stated they were either "optimistic" or "very optimistic."

"We are witnessing a rapid change in the industry," said Greg Hopper, managing director of Black & Veatch's Natural Gas and Power Generation Fuels Advisory Services. "In just a few years, we have gone from concerns about a maturing resource base and gas conservation to increasing production and new markets.

The change is fueled by a widespread belief that abundant gas resources can provide current customers with price stability, while the gas industry realizes substantial growth across a wide range of North American industries, according to Hopper.

With rapid change, however, comes challenges.

Regulatory consistency at the federal and state levels is necessary for the industry to grow, particularly for producers and pipeline organizations in states that do not have an established history of regulating natural gas production and transportation. Significant investments in the nation's infrastructure will be critical.

"For natural gas, the most notable need is for the construction of new pipelines to transport new supplies to new markets," said John Chevrette, president of Black & Veatch's Management Consulting Division. "Regions that are heavily dependent on coal-fueled power generation today will be migrating more to natural gas-fueled generation in the future. This will require both industries to work closely together to identify pipeline needs, gain regulatory approval and fund new transportation infrastructure."

For more:
- see the report

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