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S&P Equity Research, using data from Global Insight, announced Friday it is lowering its 2005 Henry Hub bid week (blend of spot and contract) price projection by $0.16 to $8.19/MMBtu, and 2006's by $0.06 to $9.47/MMBtu. The group is projecting a December bidweek price of $12.27/MMBtu and a five-month winter average approaching $13/MMBtu. The projections are subject to weather and the return of Gulf of Mexico supplies, analyst Tina Vital, an oil and gas analyst with Standard & Poor's Equity Research, said. "While warm weather and bearish storage reports have pushed U.S. natural gas prices down to near $11 per million Btu, we believe these declines are temporary. With eastern U.S. winter weather expected to be colder than normal, we expect above-average storage withdrawals and Gulf production losses will boost Henry Hub bid week prices" with a peak price of $12.71/MMBtu in January.

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