Domestic shortages of natural gas and worldwide petroleum-supply problems have created an energy boom in the United States Rocky Mountain region. How sustainable are these prices? Is this temporary or a new reality? We will explore some of the local and global drivers behind this change to try to evaluate the sustainability of today's prices over the medium term. How might alternative energy impact the economics of oil and gas prices and energy development? What are the risks, the opportunities, and what can we learn from the past? The difficulty of finding and producing gas in the Rockies traditionally favored the majors, but the rapid dissemination of world-class technology on inexpensive personal computers and availability of cost-effective operational innovations may alter the game. And finally, how will this be affected by politics, from the Middle East to Colorado's Western Slope? Ranchers vote, and rigs don't. Rethinking relationships with surface owners and local communities may be both necessary and financially smart as we seek to develop the resources of the Rocky Mountain West. This paper examines global as well as local impacts on energy prices and energy development in the United States.

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