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Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/10/2014 -- It means that the UK will have a smaller domestic market that could further dampen the economics of downstream production.
- However, this could help alleviate the UK's long-term current account position by helping it contain the country's oil import needs, in addition to a stemming of domestic output decline. As such, the UK's net refined oil import requirement could initially rise from 267,000b/d in 2012 to 380,510b/d in 2017 as consumption falls slower than the decline in refined oil product output. However, the faster rate of consumption decline relative to oil product output after 2017, in addition to a stemming of the decline of oil output could see the net import requirement for oil products fall to 298,310 2023.
- Gas production will continue to slide, and we estimate that gas output will fall further to 36.2bcm in 2014, down from 40.5bcm in 2012, owing to a natural rate of decline. As with oil, tax incentives should lead to a deceleration in output declines. Gas output is forecast at 32.04bcm in 2018 and 29.9bcm by 2023.
- Our gas consumption forecast sees demand slowly rise from 77bcm in 2012 to 89.4bcm in 2018 and 99.1bcm by 2023. Heating demand from cold weather will make up for falling gas demand in the power sector. However, the increase in consumption that we expect is underpinned by a policy emphasis on gas in the UK's energy mix. A failure by the government to provide clear incentives to steer the sector towards this poses significant downside risks to our forecast.
- Alongside an end to a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (fracking), a budget supportive of shale gas exploration and production (E&P) is likely to further stimulate interest in the UK, which is leading the push to embrace shale gas in Western Europe. In 2013, Chancellor George Osborne announced that a new field allowance for shale gas will be introduced that could slash the effective tax rate from 62% to 30%. In addition, in December 2013, the UK signalled its intent to launch its first shale gas licensing round in the summer of 2014, pending the results of an environmental impact consultation period ending March 28th 2014.
- In January 2014, Total announced that it will gain a 40% interest in two shale gas exploration licences in the prospective Bowland Basin, Lincolnshire. Total will commit US$50mn to drilling for shale gas in the licenses. Total will therefore become the first international oil company (IOC) to invest in the country's shale gas industry. The investment is an early and important sign of confidence in the country's potential. It could help boost exploration to help assess the size and commerciality of the resource, the largest upside risk to the country's falling gas reserves and production.
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