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SENATE OKS DECONTROLLING NATURAL GAS

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The Senate approved compromise legislation Thursday that would remove price controls from all natural gas at the wellhead by Jan. 1, 1993.

The bill, approved by voice vote without debate, was sent to the House, where final passage was assured. President Bush supports the legislation.With virtually no differences in the Senate and House bills, negotiators quickly reached an agreement Wednesday, clearing the way for congressional passage.

The compromise bill provides that all natural gas not under contract would be decontrolled immediately after enactment of the bill and natural gas under contract would be decontrolled when the contracts expire.

Most price controls on natural has were ended by 1978 legislation and only about a third is still controlled.