5 liquids driving the natural gas economy

Natural gas may be cheap, but companies drilling for it are still pulling up valuable stuff. Here are some of the most profitable chemicals coming from gas wells.

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What natural gas producers are doing with the glut
What natural gas producers are doing with the glut
News of a $2.4 billion buyout of Nicor by fellow natural gas player AGL Resources doesn't change a simple fact: America's got too much natural gas. Since better technology enabled drillers to glean more gas out of wells, the U.S. has hit an oversupply. The country has almost four trillion cubic feet of natural gas in storage right now, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which is greater than the demand for the fuel, and natural gas prices keep going down.

But the gas glut doesn't mean that drillers are doomed, just that that the most valuable product coming out of wells, for the moment, isn't actually the gas itself.

Now, the real money is in the wet stuff. Drilling for gas pulls up a whole slew of liquid products--the most valuable of which is a little bit of crude oil, which can be converted to petroleum.

But there are others. Here are some of the main non-crude liquids that are profitable enough to float the natural gas industry.

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Last updated December 07 2010: 12:27 PM ET
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