This week at CERAWeek (www.ceraweek.com), a gathering of energy industry professionals, analysts from Cambridge Energy Research Associates (www.cera.com) addressed topics currently affecting the worldwide energy industry, ranging from the effect of political unrest to shifting supply and demand forces, according to a report by the Houston Business Journal (www.bizjournals.com/houston/).

During the discussion, the Houston Business Journal reports James Burkhard, managing director of CERA’s Global Oil Group, said he expects oil prices to remain at current levels near $40 a barrel for most of 2009, possibly moving up above $50 by end of the year, by which time oil production is expected to decline by about one million barrels a day from current levels.

Burkhard acknowledged, however, that moves by OPEC could keep prices at current levels heading into 2010.

Other points offered up by analysts at the meeting include:

  • Oil and gas producers were said to remain in a holding pattern while they look over budgets and assess cash flow, creating an industry “pause” that may last another two or three months.
  • As the recession eases and demand for energy picks back up, it was reported that the current slowdown on development may create a supply problem.
  • Natural gas experts said this sector may be able to meet some of expected capacity demands if the oil and gas sector is not, with liquefied natural gas shipments into the North American market materializing in the second half of 2009. In Asia, where the natural gas market is somewhat less developed, supply concerns may be a larger problem.

To read the full report by the Houston Business Journal on CERAWeek, click here.