Over the past ten years, the natural gas industry has engaged in an open debate concerning the existence of a natural gas "bubble". The definition of the gas "bubble" can be different and confusing to most producer and consumer groups. Major oil companies, independent producers, pipelines, gas marketers, industrial users, electric utilities and local distribution companies (LDC's) must collectively understand the present supply and demand dynamics of the natural gas industry. While certain industry, groups proclaim a gas supply "bubble", others are concerned about the end of the deliverability "bubble". Even though the domestic resource base of natural gas is enormous, the proved reserves represent only a very small fraction of the resource base. Moreover, the proved reserves of natural gas have been declining since 1970. In 1970, the proved natural gas reserves were 290.7 trillion cubic feet and at year end 1991 they had declined to 167.1 trillion cubic feet. Natural gas consumption peaked in 1973 at 21.7 trillion cubic feet and declined to 163 trillion cubic feet by 1986. The decline in gas consumption was a response to various regulatory actions and economic events. This decline in consumption was the primary cause of the deliverability "bubble". Since 1986, natural gas consumption has shown a steady increase. There exists a considerable body of evidence which can be interpreted to show that a deliverability shortfall in natural gas supply is imminent and the "bubble" will soon burst.

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