US gas production seen falling 4% in 2002

Total US natural gas production is likely to drop by 3.5-4% this year instead of the 2% decline previously predicted, because exploration and production companies have depleted their North American drilling inventories faster than expected, a veteran industry analyst contends.Robert Morris, oil and gas exploration and production analyst for Salomon Smith Barney Inc., New York, said, "Producers have run through a lot of their best prospects in trying to drill up all they could" during a flurry of activity that started about mid-2000 and peaked at 1,293 active units in late July 2001. US drilling subsequently declined fairly steadily through early April.But with the pick-up in drilling acti...

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