X-Message-Number: 21912
From: "Mark Plus" <>
Subject: House panel eyes natural gas woes
Date: Sat, 07 Jun 2003 21:19:21 -0700


House panel eyes natural gas woes
Fed Chairman Greenspan to testify at June 10 hearing
By William L. Watts, CBS.MarketWatch.com
Last Update: 2:07 PM ET June 4, 2003

WASHINGTON (CBS.MW) -- The House energy panel wants to hear more from 
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan next week on potential threats to 
the economy from tight natural gas supplies and rising demand.

Greenspan, in testimony before the congressional Joint Economic Committee 
last month warned that tight natural gas supplies presented "an extremely 
serious problem."

Greenspan will testify on June 10 before the full House Energy and Commerce 
Committee, panel chairman Billy Tauzin, R-La., announced Wednesday. The 
hearing will begin at 10 a.m. ET, with Greenspan set to testify at 2 p.m.

"With natural gas prices expected to skyrocket this summer and demand 
beginning to outpace supply, it is critical that we better understand how 
this will impact our nation's economy," Tauzin said in a statement. "As our 
nation continues to rely more heavily on natural gas for a myriad of uses 
from heating our homes to fertilizing our crops, we must ensure our nation 
can meet these growing needs.  I look forward to hearing Chairman 
Greenspan's thoughts."

In his May 21 testimony, Greenspan said that overall price trends in the 
energy sector appeared favorable, but raised concerns that natural gas 
prices had "increased sharply in response to very tight supplies.

"Working gas in storage is presently at extremely low levels, and the normal 
seasonal rebuilding of these inventories seems to be behind the typical 
schedule," he said.

Greenspan noted the limited capacity of the United States to import 
liquified natural gas. Meanwhile, the current tight domestic natural gas 
market reflected increases in demand over the past two decades, he said.

William L. Watts is a reporter for CBS.MarketWatch.com.

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