Energy: Natural Gas Up

More cost, less drilling

Congress dangled a most attractive carrot before the eyes of gas producers when it passed the contentious and convoluted Natural Gas Policy Act late last year. Unfortunately, gas producers ate the carrot, and are now using the stick on U.S. consumers. The bill, which went into effect on Dec. 1, relaxed the ceiling on domestic natural gas prices, allowing them to rise closer to world market levels. Congress hoped that this would encourage producers to find more gas. Not so. In January and February, the number of wells drilled declined by 7% compared with the equivalent period a...

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