UT Energy Expert Says Natural Gas Prices Rising

Knoxville — The price of natural gas hit an all-time high in the United States this week.

And an energy industry analyst from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga said such price increases may make it much more costly for people to heat their homes this winter.

“When you look at two energy sources, oil and natural gas, when the price of one goes up, the demand for the other increases rapidly,” said Dr. Ziad Keilany. “And these higher prices for oil and gas may eventually lead to higher prices for coal.”

The Clinton administration is pressing OPEC members, especially Saudia Arabia, to increase their crude oil production in an effort to reduce oil prices.

Keilany said if high prices continue, homeowners in the northeastern United States will suffer.

“Natural gas represents about 9 percent of the energy consumed in the United States each year,” Keilany said, “but in the Northeast, it is almost 35 percent of all the energy consumed each year, so they may see their energy prices climb very high this winter.”

Prices for natural gas are now double their usual rates, and oil supplies are at their lowest since the energy crises of the 1970s.