Tudor Pickering Holt forecasts dramatic rise in gas prices

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Nov. 5 -- Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. (TPH) foresees a fairly dramatic recovery in natural gas prices next year, a spokesman told an Oct. 29 energy finance summit at Rice University’s Jess H. Jones Graduate School of Business.

Bobby Tudor, chief executive officer of the investment bank, said TPH early this year finished a gas supply study in which it forecast gas prices will average $7.50/Mcfe on the New York Mercantile Exchange during 2010 and $6.50/Mcfe in 2011.

Over the next decade, TPH forecasts a long-term US rig count of 1,500 rigs of which 400 will be drilling for oil, 600 for shale gas, and 500 for nonshale gas.

“We assume an incremental 300 rigs in Canada, for a total US and Canada rig count of 1,800,” Tudor said.

Acknowledging that shale gas plays are “a game changer,” for US gas supply, Tudor noted, “Shales alone won't be enough to satisfy gas demand in North America. We will have to have some production from conventional gas."

Greenhouse gas watch
Separately, Doug Foshee, El Paso Corp. chairman, president, and chief executive officer, told Rice energy summit participants that the natural gas industry is closely watching all political discussion about greenhouse gas emissions.

"We need to know what the rules are going to be in greenhouse gas emissions," Foshee said. "We are an advocate of GHG regulations at the federal level. Our worst nightmare is that we have 38 states with different forms of GHG regulations," he added. El Paso operates in 38 states.

In a separate announcement on Nov. 3, El Paso announced plans to sell $300-500 million in assets during 2010 in what El Paso calls a move intended to improve its company’s financial flexibility to fund its core businesses. The assets to be sold were not identified.

“Since last summer, we’ve acted aggressively to deal with the challenges in capital and commodity markets, building liquidity significant,” Foshee said in a Nov. 3 statement. “At the same time, we’ve continued to fund sustainable growth opportunities.”

More details are expected to be discussed during a Dec. 10 meeting that El Paso has scheduled with analysts.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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