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FIELD HEARING: Volatility In the Natural Gas Market: The Impact Of High Natural Gas Prices On American Consumers

Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations

Location: St. Paul MN

Agenda

The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held a field hearing in Minnesota entitled "Volatility In the Natural Gas Market: The Impact Of High Natural Gas Prices On American Consumers." The Subcommittee field hearing was held at the at the James J. Hill Reference Library located at 80 West 4th Street in St. Paul, Minnesota. Senator Norm Coleman, Chairman of the Subcommittee, conducted the hearing, which featured the Subcommittee’s investigation into the natural gas market and allegations that price and supply manipulation have caused increasingly high and volatile natural gas prices. For the decades preceding 2000, the average price of natural gas was $2.30 - $2.50 per million BTU. Since 2000, prices of natural gas have generally fluctuated between $2 and $10 per million BTU. Energy market projections have estimated record natural gas prices this winter. In December alone, NYMEX natural gas futures closed above $14.00 per million BTU. These increased energy costs are taking a toll on the American economy, businesses, consumers, and families. Moreover, allegations of trader and supplier price manipulation and charges that suppliers are withholding gas supplies from the market have increased in frequency. The Subcommittee  hearing examined why natural gas prices are high and volatile, the impact higher prices have on the economy, business, and families, and the government's role in ensuring that natural gas prices are determined in a competitive and informed marketplace.

Witnesses

Panel 1

Panel 2

  • MR. LeROY KOPPENDRAYER
    Chairman
    Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
    St. Paul, MN
    Download Testimony (1224k)
  • MR. EDWARD A. GARVEY
    Deputy Commissioner for Energy and Telecommunications
    Minnesota Department of Commerce
    St. Paul, MN
    Download Testimony (482k)

Panel 3

  • MR. JAMES WELLS
    Managing Director, Energy Team
    U.S. Government Accountability Office
    Washington, D.C.
    Download Testimony (903k)
  • MS. SUSAN J. COURT
    Director, Office of Market Oversight and Investigations
    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
    Washington, D.C.
    Download Testimony (36k)
  • Accmpanied by: STEPHEN J. HARVEY
    Deputy Director, Office of Market Oversight & Investigations
    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
    Washington, D.C.