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NEW YORK--Soon after price controls expire on an estimated 60 percent of natural gas next January, users will in many cases be able to protect themselves from price increases if regulators approve a proposal for trading natural gas futures contracts.
Last Friday, the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) filed an application for the futures trading, which would begin soon after control of certain categories of gas ceases under the provisions of the 1978 Natural Gas Policy Act (NGPA), according to Nymex research analyst Georgia Serevetas.
A decision is expected in about a year from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Washington, D.C., a federal agency equivalent to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
"There are always modifications, but we expect it to be approved," said Rutherford Poats, associate economist with the Energy Futures Group, Bethesda, Md., a consultant to Nymex.
Several pipelines support the plan and …