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Heating bills expected to climb

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- It could be a more expensive winter for many Oklahomans.

Officials in the natural gas industry are warning that winter heating bills could be much higher as prices continue to climb.

The cost of natural gas already was at record summer prices before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. Now, the cost is up more than 16 percent and energy officials say the price could climb more than 70 percent this fall.

Experts say the price jumped this week mostly because of fear the gas production in the Gulf of Mexico could be offline for some time.

The US Coast Guard reported this week that 29 drilling rigs are missing from the eastern gulf, and another 29 are damaged.
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