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Natural gas prices rise from historic lows

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PITTSBURGH (AP) -

Wholesale natural gas prices have doubled over the last year, and that's bringing sighs of relief from an unusual variety of interests.

According to federal energy statistics natural gas topped $4 per thousand cubic feet in early April, after falling below $2 a year ago.

Gas drilling companies are obviously happy, and so are leaseholders and states that get revenue based on the market price. But the coal industry and renewable energy advocates are cheering the news, too, since gas no longer has a huge price advantage over those other energy sources.

But a new drilling boom isn't imminent.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group, says current prices will have to be sustained for months or years for companies to drill significantly more wells than they are now.

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