This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

June 18, 2003

Low Natural Gas Stores Concern DOE and the Federal Reserve

Noting a lack of natural gas in storage throughout the United States, DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicted early this month that natural gas prices will likely remain high for the remainder of 2003. The finding, published in the EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook for June, raised enough concern that Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham called for a special meeting of the National Petroleum Council. The council's Natural Gas Summit will be held on June 26th. See the EIA report and the DOE press release.

The natural gas supply concerns have also caught the attention of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who noted it in his economic outlook report to Congress on May 21st, then gave testimony to Congress on June 10th. In his congressional testimony, Greenspan looked to the future and said that the U.S. natural gas supply needs the flexibility that would be introduced by using imports to fill in shortfalls in domestic production. Those imports would have to be in the form on liquefied natural gas (LNG). See Greenspan's May 21st and June 10th testimonies.

Although some were surprised at Greenspan's statements, he actually is in agreement with EIA's most recent energy outlook, which anticipated an increasing need for LNG imports in order to meet future U.S. natural gas needs. See the EIA press release.

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), however, took issue with Greenspan's conclusions, noting that energy efficiency should be able to cut U.S. demand for natural gas by 10 percent. See the ACEEE press release.