Monday, February 7, 2011

U.S. Shale Gas Producer Squeeze: No Pricing Power, Heavy Capex and High Debt

We have previously advised that at the substantially depressed domestic natural gas prices due to excessive supply, producers simply can't make the math work. When you combine the leasehold costs, drilling cost, transportation commitments against the wellhead prices received, producers can't carry.

If you can't pass on your capex and debt costs to consumers, you are drilling for a fraction of your variable cost and deferring "actual losses" through a variety of off balance sheet and on balance sheet accounting tools.

There is not going to be any salvation in "instantaneous exports of Natural Gas" from the U.S., there will not be any sudden sustainable price spikes, and there won't be any sudden incremental and sustainable demand from automobiles, trucks, etc.

Thus, the next 3-5 years for U.S. domestic natural gas producers looks very grim, despite how much we like NG and support its implementation.

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