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The Energy Dept.'s statistical agency says it expects natural gas wellhead prices to rise by 13% in 1999.
That is, if the first-quarter winter months are truly cold instead of unseasonably warm, as they were this year.
Recent data from the DOE's Energy Information Admin. (EIA) outline the gas price prediction, as well as evidence that in 1997, domestic proved oil reserves actually rose for the first time in 10 years.
In its most recent monthly world oil and gas market outlook, EIA predicts 1999 gas prices to hover around $2.19/mcf, which compares with a probable average of $1.94 this year and $2.23/mcf in 1997.
The 1998 vs. 1997 price decline will be …