June 9, 2003, 1700
PDT (FTW) -- Financial
Times reports US Natural Gas Supplies at Critical Lows. Greenspan
to address economic threat posed by possible imminent shortages
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Alarm as US gas supplies hit low
By Sheila McNulty in Houston
Published: June 9 2003 5:00 | Last Updated: June 9 2003
Natural gas supplies in the US have reached critically
low levels in recent months and may be inadequate to meet
demand during a hot summer this year.
Spencer Abraham, the
US energy secretary, has called an emergency meeting
of the National Petroleum
month amid calls for the administration to deal urgently
with the shortage.
Mr Abraham said the US had 696bn cu ft of gas in storage
at the end of March, the lowest since 1976 when record-keeping
began. By the week of April 11, levels had dropped to 623bn
"Storage has increased since that time, but it is
still only half the level of a year ago, and 42 per cent
below the previous five-year average," Mr Abraham
Tomorrow Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan is to
testify before the House energy and commerce committee
on threats to the economy from the shortage.
Prices are reported to have increased
as much as 700 per cent over the past three years, provoking
steel to petrochemicals to call on the government to address
what they call "the other energy crisis" because
it is less well known than the domestic oil shortage.
"No company, no industry, no consumer can absorb
a threefold increase in major raw material prices and continue
to compete in the global marketplace," said Greg Lebedev,
president of the American Chemistry Council, the largest
industrial users of natural gas.
The problem arose after the US government encouraged natural
gas as an environmentally friendly fuel but refused to
open what Mr Abraham said were about 40 per cent of the
potential gas resources on federal lands.
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