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Boone Pickens says cut drilling to boost gas price
* Pickens advises gas-drilling cut
* Says cutting drilling will lower supply
CALGARY, Alberta, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Natural gas producers looking to boost prices for the fuel should cut supply by stopping drilling, T. Boone Pickens, the oil man who has become the biggest supporter of increased gas use in the United States, said on Wednesday.
Pickens, who is pushing for the U.S. trucking fleet to convert to natural gas as a way to cut oil imports, said there's too much of the fuel on the markets, which lowers prices.
Benchmark natural gas prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange have ranged around $4 per million British thermal units for most of the summer as demand remains weak and new production from shale gas fields pushes up supply and boosts inventories.
Pickens said that if prices are to rise, producers must slow their drilling programs to reduce supply.
"Right now, if I was running a drilling program in the United States I would stop drilling wells," he told a Calgary business audience.
Pickens said investors and analysts pressure natural gas producers to raise production. He wants them to exercise restraint instead. "Kill the drilling, let the supply go down, and you can get a better price for gas." (Reporting by Scott Haggett; editing by Peter Galloway)
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