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Super cycles in natural gas prices and their impact on Latin American energy and environmental policies

Arturo Vásquez Cordano and Abdel M. Zellou

Resources Policy, 2020, vol. 65, issue C

Abstract: There was an upward trend in energy commodity prices since 2000, but with the surge in supply coming from unconventional oil and gas resources in North America, the trend in natural gas prices has become downward in recent years. However, the exploitation of these resources is generating public concerns due to the possible adverse environmental impacts of using hydraulic fracturing and other techniques on underground water. The purpose of this paper is to address the following questions: are there super cycles in natural gas prices? What are the environmental consequences in Latin America of the exploitation of unconventional gas given the cyclical behavior of gas prices? How are the governments in the region implementing energy and environmental policies to regulate unconventional shale gas production? With the last peak occurring in 2006, we identified three super cycles in natural gas prices, and it is predicted to observe a new super cycle in the 2020s. Our analysis indicates that the unstable political situation, the institutional weakness, the governmental intervention through asset nationalization, high capital expenditures to develop LNG export projects and to explore shale resources, as well as the pre-salt discoveries in Brazil make uncertain that the shale gas boom achieve a significant impact in Latin America during the coming gas-price super cycle.

Keywords: Super cycles; Long cycles; Exhaustible resources; Natural gas prices; Energy and environmental policies; Shale gas; Trend-cycle decomposition; Christiano-fitzgerald band-pass filter; Latin America; Environmental regulation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E32 L71 Q41 E37 L51 Q58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2019.101513

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