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EMF OP 57: After the Natural Gas Bubble: An Economic Evaluation of the Recent U.S. National Petroleum Council Study

This perspective paper reviews andcritiques the policy analysis and modeling of future natural gasmarkets in the National Petroleum Council’s 2003 natural gas study (NPCStudy). The NPC Study provided an important and timely review oflong-term natural gas supply, demand, and potential policies toincrease supply or suppress demand. However, its long term scenariosused assumptions and simplifications that led to understanding likelylonger-term market reactions to higher natural gas prices, whichresults in exaggeration of the potential benefits of the policiesrecommended by the NPC. In addition, the narrow scope of the NPC Studydid not address many important considerations in natural gas policy,such as the cost of recommended policies, or their impacts ontaxpayers, resource owners, or the environment. Overall, the study doesnot provide the evidence needed to justify major natural gas policies,especially in view of the current uncertain market environment.