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ENERGY

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Natural Gas Prices Likely to Stay Soft: Spot natural gas prices reached their lowest levels in more than two years this week and are likely to stay low until winter because of growing supplies, analysts say. “I don’t even think weather would help at this point unless a big hurricane hit,” said Michael Barbis, an analyst at NatWest Securities in New York. Drilling rigs and pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico, a major gas-producing area, can be shut down or suffer damage from storms in the fall hurricane season. Spot market prices for natural gas along the Gulf Coast slumped this week to less than $1.50 per million British thermal units, the lowest level since April, 1992, and down 25 cents from earlier this month. A year ago, natural gas prices were at $2.25 per BTU.


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