Greens Have a Driller Seeing Red

Unless federal exploration restrictions are eased, warns Devon Energy CEO Larry Nichols, prices will continue to go up

With natural gas prices on a tear, residential consumers and manufacturers are feeling squeezed. Sky-high prices -- the result of soaring demand from harsh winter weather, aging gas wells, and a drop in imports from Canada -- have sent at least one small chemical company into bankruptcy. The doubling of prices over the past year also has hit consumers, since more than half of the U.S. homes rely on natural gas. As a result, producers are clamoring for Washington to do something to alleviate the squeeze (see BW, 6/16/03, "Is the Natural Gas Crunch About to Become a Crisis?").

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