Natural gas is transforming into a global integrated market as shale exploration technologies help discover new reserves in the U.S. and other parts of the world, writes Thomas Tunstall, research director of the University of Texas at San Antonio's Institute for Economic Development. "The development of shale gas reserves on a global basis represents a paradigm shift in the way natural gas markets operate. If this is indeed the case, simple extrapolations from the recent past -- when natural prices in fact fluctuated wildly between 2000 and 2010 -- will be poor predictors of the future," Tunstall writes.

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