Predictions for 2013: higher natural gas prices, more U.S. manufacturing
In a preview of the sessions planned for the CERAWeek energy conference, IHS analysts offered a few predictions for the year — rising natural gas prices in the United States, growing diversification of China’s power sector and continued questions about how quickly the North American shale revolution will spread to the rest of the world.
Monday’s opening sessions of the IHS CERAWeek 2013 raised questions speakers will address in more depth throughout the week.
But the opening speakers also offered a few other predictions.
John Larson, vice president for economic and public sector consulting at IHS, suggested that the United States is poised for a major manufacturing renaissance.
“I think you’ll see more onshoring, displacing imports,” he said.
That’s already started to happen as petrochemical companies and others take advantage of cheap natural gas, which many companies use as both a source of fuel and as a feedstock. Larson suggested that’s likely to grow, even as the U.S. economy may continue to struggle.
More than 2,000 people are expected to attend at least a few days of the five-day conference, which continues through Friday at the Hilton Americas. It will include more than 300 speakers, ranging from wonky researchers to top CEOs, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates and General Motors CEO Daniel Akerson, although one speaker, MIT physicist Ernest Moniz, withdrew over the weekend.
He had a good excuse: President Obama nominated him Monday as energy secretary.
Cambridge Energy Research Associates started the annual CERAWeek conference in 1982, and the event continued after CERA was acquired in 2004 by IHS, formerly called Information Handling Services.
The conference will cover big themes — oil, natural gas, electric power — and the role that innovation will play in all of those. Exports of liquefied natural gas will come up in several guises, as will the challenges of transporting the new bounty unleashed by new drilling techniques.
“Oil and gas are going to be part of the mix a lot longer than people thought even a few years ago,” conference chairman Daniel Yergin said in an interview last week, noting that oil production is up 40 percent since 2008.