When economic reformers in the old Soviet Union searched for a metaphor to describe their move to a market economy, they a spoke of a horseman jumping a ditch. The true test of a strategy was that...
Otter Tail Decries Public Power Bids
The Natural Gas Competitiveness Act of 1995 has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. Authored by Reps. Lamar S. Smith (R-TX) and John Bryant (D-TX), the bill would give independent producers an opportunity to avoid antitrust laws and join together in cooperatives to market their natural gas directly to the end user.
"Forty percent of the natural gas produced in the United States is by small, private companies with fewer than 10-15 employees," said Denise Bode, president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America. "Separately, their ability to market gas is minimal. Together, through co-ops, they may have a better chance in the marketplace, and the consumer will have a greater choice of suppliers."
According to Apache Corp. chairman Raymond Plank, Congress is trying to correct market imbalances resulting from FERC Order 636. Plank observed that while Order 636 opened the gas-marketing function to everyone in theory, it gave the middleman near-monopoly control over the nation's gas supplies, contributing to price volatility: "[W]ellhead prices have been beaten down to the point where producers cannot afford to drill, while
residential gas bills are being ratcheted up to pay for unneeded or nonexistent services."
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