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Natural gas glut is crushing US drillers

天然气供应过剩正在挤压美国的钻井企业



The outlook for natural gas producers is not great. They are getting clobbered by low prices today, amid a glut. But the medium- and long-term looks even worse, with renewable energy increasingly taking market share.

天然气生产商的前景并不乐观。在供过于求的今天,它们正受到低价的打击。但中长期来看,随着可再生能源占据的市场份额越来越大,情况将更加糟糕。

The gas industry has drilled itself into this predicament. Gas production continues to ratchet higher, rapidly replenishing inventories, which had plunged to a 15-year low heading into this past winter season. Inventories are still below the five-year average, but have climbed quickly in recent months.

天然气行业已陷入困境。天然气产量继续攀升,能迅速补充库存。去年冬季,天然气库存曾跌至15年来的最低点。当前库存仍低于5年平均水平,但近几个月已迅速攀升。



Even the increasing volumes of gas exported overseas is not enough to tighten up the market. “We expect the current oversupply to persist as production growth, mainly associated gas from oil basins, matches LNG export growth over the next year,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch wrote in a note.

即使出口到海外的天然气数量不断增加,也不足以收紧市场。美国银行美林证券在一份报告中写道:“我们预计,随着产量增长(主要是来自石油盆地的伴生天然气)与液化天然气出口增长,目前的供过于求局面将明年继续持续下去。”

While some of this is not new news, the surprising thing is that the outlook does not seem to improve the further out one looks. There is little reason to expect things to turn around. Gas production is still rising and inventories will be well-stocked next winter. “[T]oo much gas past peak winter keeps pressure on next summer and allows us to maintain our $2.6/MMbtu price projection for the 2020 strip,” Bank of America said.

尽管这已不是新消息,但令人惊讶的是,人们对未来的展望似乎并没有改善。大家似乎没有什么理由指望事情会好转。天然气产量仍在上升,明年冬天库存将充足。美国银行表示:“由于冬季天然气供应超过峰值水平,明年夏季的天然气供应压力仍然很大,因此我们只能够维持对2020年价格2.6美元/百万英热的预期。”

Even more shocking still is that the investment bank said that the market becomes more depressed as we move into 2021. “Our lofty 4.5 tcf inventory outlook for 2021 is quite bleak and drives our 2021 average price forecast of $2.4/MMbtu, which is $0.15/MMbtu below the current curve,” the bank said.

更令人震惊的是,这家投资银行表示,随着2021年的到来,市场将变得更加低迷。该银行表示:“我们2021年将有4.5万亿立方英尺的高库存,前景相当黯淡,这促使我们对2021年的平均价格预测为2.4美元/百万英热,比当前曲线低0.15美元/百万英热。”



The writing is already on the wall. NextEra Energy Resources signed a deal in recent days that may offer a glimpse into the future. The deal with Oklahoma-based Western Farmers Electric Cooperative calls for a renewables combo – 250 megawatts of wind, 250 MW of solar, and 200 MW of battery storage. Integrated together, the project addresses intermittency concerns. The kicker? It’s cheaper than natural gas. “It’s actually cheaper, economically, than a gas peaker plant of similar size, particularly with the tax credits that are available right now,” Phillip Schaeffer, the principal resource planning engineer at Western Farmers, told Greentech Media. “Prices have fallen significantly over the last several years.”As the deal shows, this is not an abstract far-off threat for gas. Gas is losing out to renewables today. “[R]enewable energy could provide headwinds for power sector natural gas demand,” Bank of America said. “Wind and solar projects, even without subsidies, are now competitive with new build natural gas generation, which is a depressing statistic for potential longer term natural gas bulls.”

这已经是不祥之兆了。NextEra能源资源公司近日签署了一项协议,该协议有望让人们对未来有所了解。与俄克拉荷马州的西部农民电力合作社达成的协议要求提供可再生能源的组合——250兆瓦的风能、250兆瓦的太阳能和200兆瓦的电池存储。该项目解决了间歇性的问题。它比天然气便宜。“实际上,从经济上讲,它比类似规模的天然气峰值厂更便宜,尤其是考虑到目前的税收抵免,”西部农场主公司的首席资源规划工程师菲利普·谢弗对绿色科技传媒表示。“在过去几年里,价格已经大幅下降。“正如协议所显示的,这对天然气来说不是一个抽象的遥远威胁。如今,天然气正在输给可再生能源。美国银行表示:“可再生能源可能给电力行业的天然气需求带来不利影响。”“即使没有补贴,风能和太阳能项目现在也能与新建天然气发电项目竞争,这对于潜在的长期天然气看涨者来说是一个令人沮丧的数据。”

“The lull in LNG demand growth that begins in 2021 and renewable headwinds are too much for the natural gas market to overcome,” Bank of America concluded. Natural gas companies are ultimately going to have to hit the brakes on new drilling, the bank said.

美国银行总结称:“从2021年开始,液化天然气需求增长放缓,而可再生能源的势头太猛,天然气市场难以克服。”世界银行表示,天然气公司最终将不得不停止新的钻探活动。