U.S. natural-gas prices dipped bellow $3 on Friday, their lowest level in more than two years, with mild temperatures in recent months and an overflow of gas from shale fields across the country contributing to the influx of inventory. Horizontal drilling techniques and "fracking" has helped oil companies tap into shale formations in Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and other states. Each $1 drop in natural-gas prices cuts costs for U.S.-based chemical makers by more than $3.7 billion annually, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. However, major corporations like Southern Gas Corp, EXCO Resources, and Quicksilver Resources are losing profits and may need to cut their staff or seek mergers in 2012.
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