Testimony of Chairman Alan Greenspan.
Energy prices represent a second major uncertainty in the economic outlook. A further rise could cut materially into private spending and thus damp the rate of economic expansion. In recent weeks, spot prices for crude oil and natural gas have been both high and volatile. Prices for far-future delivery of oil and gas have risen even more markedly than spot prices over the past year. Apparently, market participants now see little prospect of appreciable relief from elevated energy prices for years to come. Global demand for energy apparently is expected to remain strong, and market participants are evidencing increased concerns about the potential for supply disruptions in various oil-producing regions.
To be sure, the capacity to tap and utilize the world's supply of oil continues to expand. Major advances in recovery rates from existing reservoirs have enhanced proved reserves despite ever fewer discoveries of major oil fields. But, going forward, because of the geographic location of proved reserves, the great majority of the investment required to convert reserves into new crude oil productive capacity will need to be made in countries where foreign investment is currently prohibited or restricted or faces considerable political risk. Moreover, the preponderance of oil and gas revenues of the dominant national oil companies is perceived as necessary to meet the domestic needs of growing populations. These factors have the potential to constrain the ability of producers to expand capacity to keep up with the projected growth of world demand, which has been propelled to an unexpected extent by burgeoning demand in emerging Asia.
More favorably, the current and prospective expansion of U.S. capability to import liquefied natural gas will help ease longer-term natural gas stringencies and perhaps bring natural gas prices in the United States down to world levels.
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He also puzzles about the bond thing again, but he still doesn't have an answer. Poor Augustus.