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One can’t help but love this business. Always interesting, it was truly an emotional roller coaster ride in 2001. We began the year flush with cash, enthusiasm and optimism. The U.S. economy was strong, commodity prices were near all-time highs, and the long-reported natural gas bubble was believed to have finally burst. Today, we wake up to an entirely new world, dominated by global political uncertainty and an economy near recession. Gas storage is nearly full, and the spot market is 40% lower than expectations of a year ago. Crude oil prices are 16% lower for the same period. Thus, U.S. independents are looking at 2001 earnings well below their 2000 results.
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