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Inside Report (1)

One thing that rises faster than hot air next year may be the price of the natural gas to heat it. Right after the November elections, the energy industry will begin lobbying for higher natural gas prices. That's the word from George P. Mitchell, chairman and president of Mitchell Energy & Development Corporation, a large Houston independent oil and gas company.

Federal price controls on several categories of natural gas are already being phased out. Controls will expire altogether in 1985. But prices still aren't rising quickly enough to encourage wildcat exploration to find major new reserves, industry officials claim.

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Mr. Mitchell predicts an industry push for new laws to decontrol prices immediately.m