Constrained market no more? Implications of new Northeast pipelines for supply, flows and markets
After years of constraint, Northeast markets are on the precipice of being debottlenecked. Last winter’s pipeline expansions offered the most sustained period of basis relief since summer 2013, and a massive slate of projects is now under construction or in advanced regulatory stages. In the midterm Northeast exit capacity is likely to be under-utilized. Not enough acreage is economic at the $2.50/mmbtu in-basin prices expected to fill the expected buildout in pipeline capacity. Longer term, we do expect the pipeline capacity to fill and for the area to run out of pipe again. The need for expensive new Northeast pipeline capacity is the primary catalyst of the higher Henry Hub prices in our forecast beginning in the mid-2020s. However, commercial questions around long-term pipe build, as producers’ growth prospects depend on funding still-more-expensive pipeline capacity. Producers and consumers will need to develop new commercial arrangements to facilitate long-term Northeast growth.