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Industry thinks natural gas slump has bottomed

Oil, steam and natural gas pipelines are seen in this file photo.

TODD KOROL/REUTERS

Shale gas prices have bottomed out, according to a large majority of industry players in a recent survey.

Fully 87 per cent of exploration and production market participants responding to a survey by RBC Dominion Securities and the Economist Intelligence Unit predict that natural gas prices will stay the same or increase over the next two years.

And 73 per cent of those polled expect a price increase of 10 per cent or more in the next five years.

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The shale gas boom in North America has resulted in record-low natural gas prices, which in turn is forcing companies and governments to reassess the impact of unconventional gas production on markets, business models, risks and the economy generally, says the report, published Tuesday.

For the economy generally, respondents anticipate that shale gas will improve country competitiveness in both the U.S. (52 per cent) and Canada (48 per cent), according to the report, based on a survey of 357 North American C-suite executives in a variety of industries.

More than half (54 per cent) of those polled said shale gas could lead to natural gas becoming a major U.S. export in the medium term.

"The coming years will be transformative for companies, particularly those in the energy, infrastructure, manufacturing and transportation sectors, which will, in turn, create opportunities for both investors and corporations," said Richard Talbot, co-head of global research at RBC Dominion Securities.

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About the Author
Quebec Business Correspondent

Bertrand has been covering Quebec business and finance since 2000. Before joining The Globe and Mail in 2000, he was the Toronto-based national business correspondent for Southam News. He has a B.A. from McGill University and a Bachelor of Applied Arts from Ryerson. More

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