Natural gas is getting more like crude oil every day. With the influx of new ETFs and the recent increase of shares available for the hottest fund, U.S. Natural Gas ( UNG), we're going to see "crudelike" access, volatility and increases in price. It's a good time to take another look at nat gas and nat gas stocks.

I've talked a lot (actually pretty incessantly) about the "endless bid" -- the desire for investors to have exposure to oil as part of their portfolio plan. That unrelenting appetite has caused a lot more volatility and higher prices for the crude barrel.

But the endless bid has mostly avoided natural gas. While in 2009 crude demand has slackened and supplies are at multiyear highs, crude has still been trading at pretty pricey levels. In contrast, you could say that natural gas has been trading fundamentally -- the demand picture is also bleak, supply is ample and the prices of nat gas traded on the futures markets have been very stable --and low -- just what you'd expect.

Top 5 Natural Gas Stocks

But things have been changing.

ETFs, which in crude oil have given instant access to futures markets for both daytraders and investors alike, are growing rapidly in natural gas.

The most popular of these is UNG, which invests directly in the futures markets.

Recently, UNG has been limited in the number of shares it could float, meaning that it has failed to accurately track natural gas prices, trading sometimes at a premium, sometimes at a discount, like a closed-end fund. That has disappointed shareholders.

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