Natural Gas: North American Outlook ///

The outlook in 2003 is moderately optimistic. Wellhead prices should average close to $4.00/MMBtu, while the gas well rig count should get back to around the 800 level. A recovery in gas demand back to the 2001 level is the most likely outcome for 2003. With only a modest increase in demand – related to cold weather – and some new storage projects coming on, storage should be adequate to meet next winter’s requirements. Pipeline construction has tapered off. Meanwhile, companies try hard to get a collective grip on how to minimize security risk without substantial investment.

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