Loren Scott to petrochemical industry: Expect ‘cheap’ natural gas

Loren Scott

The Capital Region’s petrochemical industry likely will continue to benefit from low domestic natural gas prices over the next two years, economist Loren Scott told Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance members last week.

He also expects that natural gas prices will remain high in Europe and Asia, which would benefit Louisiana’s industry against international competitors. Natural gas is an important fuel and feedstock for the petrochemical industry.

U.S. natural gas prices were about $4.69 per MMBtu as of this writing. Scott is predicting average prices a little under $4 for the rest of 2022 and 2023, while prices in Europe and Asia could hover near $30.

“You’re going to be using this nice, cheap natural gas,” he said during GBRIA’s annual meeting.

Scott also says he doubts reports that speculate oil might reach $100 a barrel this year, though he acknowledges oil prices are notoriously hard to predict and that the price could spike for a day or two. He says increasing production from OPEC and Russia should cover the rising demand.

“Prices have got to quit going up,” he says.