It is certainly a cliché to compare the oil and gas industry to a roller coaster ride, but few other analogies paint the picture so clearly.

Less than four years ago natural gas prices hit the top of the track at $12 per MCF – a position experts knew would not hold – and now it is trading in the $2.50-$2.60/MCF range with scant prospects of a recovery in the next 12 months. And while the ride down from the top was a scream, it was anything but fun.

Natural gas marketing consultant Mike Banschbach saw the current slide begin in August of last year, when the Permian Basin price was $4.25/MCF. At the current price, the question arises as to its effect on drilling.

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