Whilst 2016 has so far seen much discussion surrounding the oil price, oversupply and the almost daily mini-rallies that appear as fickle as a two-year old’s breakfast selection, not a great deal of attention has been paid to the gas outlook, Douglas-Westwood has argued in its DW Monday report. 

From 2016 production levels, Douglas-Westwood currently forecasts a 16.2% increase in global gas production to 2020 compared with just a 3.3% increase for oil during the same period. Is this simply a case of stronger demand or is there more to it?

As a geographic spread we see 95% more countries increasing YoY gas production during 2017 as those reducing, this compares to just 44% for oil. The production spread (difference between the largest increase and the largest decrease) between the 59-61 countries covered within the DW D&P report shows a spread of 703 kboe/d for oil and 826 kboe/d for gas during 2017 decreasing to 383 kboe/d for oil and 443 kboe/d for gas in 2020.

So not only will gas see a more rapid relative production increase but it will also experience a slower decrease in YoY production post-2017, DW explained. However, DW expects to see YoY gas production continuing to increase to the end of its current forecast period in 2022, whereas oil is expected to start showing negative production growth from 2021.

According to the energy intelligence group, the oil supply glut will return in 2017 thanks in large part to the ramping up of Iranian production and already committed Canadian oil sands projects coming online, offsetting large drops from the likes of the USA –207 kboe/d and Nigeria –121 kboe/d. The South Pars field in the Arabian Gulf along with new shallow water gas projects in Australia supported by the demand for LNG/CBM feedstocks are significant, although demand-based, contributors to the gas outlook.

With the recent lifting of sanctions on Iran and the growth of South Pars there will almost certainly be opportunities for well-placed and well-informed Western OFS providers, DW noted.

So 2017 really is the wildcard year, or perhaps more appropriately, the production Twin Peaks. The question is surely not if, but how high, DW concluded.

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