Natural gas prices are primed for a recovery as LNG plants are commissioned and exports to Mexico ramp up, Sidley Austin LLP partners said at a roundtable discussion on Jan. 10.

“Sometime by 2020, we’ll have up-and-running LNG export capacity from the United States of something on the order of 15 Bcf [billion cubic feet], 18 Bcf, maybe 20 Bcf a day, which is a significant number,” said Jim Rice, co-managing partner of the global law firm’s Houston office, whose clients operate several plants in various stages of construction and operation. “It would support my thesis that maybe we’re in for a recovery in gas prices within the next few years, a recovery for real.”

Partner Irv Rotter, co-leader of the firm’s global energy practice, agreed, but noted that long-term success of U.S. LNG would depend on the quality of off-takers as well as trade policy.