Competition between U.S. and Canadian shale gas producers is expected to drive new projects from 2017 onward, creating opportunities for breakbulk and project cargo operators that serve the sector.
As prices have plummeted in recent years U.S. gas drillers have sought new markets for their product and have explored plans for new pipelines and export routes. At present there are at least three major pipeline expansion projects planned for next year with further upgrade work planned on others to reverse flows and allow exports from the U.S. to Canada.
While Canada produces significant amounts of shale gas, its output is dwarfed by that of its more southerly neighbor. Last year, the U.S. produced about 80 billion cubic feet of gas per day as compared to just 12 billion per day in Canada.
Two of the key projects due to start next year are Houston-based energy firm Spectra’s Nexus and Atlantic Bridge pipeline developments that will carry about 1.6 billion cubic feet of gas to the northern U.S. and Canada.
The change in flow is inductive of rapidly shifting market dynamics as a result of recnt price fluctuations. As recently as last year, Trancanada was backing plans for the Keystone XL pipeline that would have seen oil delivered from Canada but is now considering reversing its Iroquois gas line to feed Canadian markets instead.
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