He believes even more in the inevitability of natural gas, which is still the most overwhelmingly cheap, plentiful, safely extractable, green and domestic energy supply we've ever seen. That's why Richard Kinder is prepared to pay a premium to become the undisputed leader in natural gas transport. He knows that, when Washington and the rest of the country sees what he already knows, he will have the most extensive and desired transport network and a monopoly on the rates he can charge on it. Who else is as sharp as Richard Kinder and ready to bet on natural gas? There's no network of midstream assets out there that's quite as fantastic as that of El Paso, so any other mergers or buyouts by other midstream companies couldn't even begin to match this deal. But the pressure is clearly on: The merger mania in natural gas is again beginning, and bigger MLPs will need to roll out the checkbooks if they have been looking to grow. Watch for new attempts for expansion by Enterprise Product Partners ( EPD), Enbridge Energy ( EEP) and Energy Transfer Partners ( ETP) for a start. Of course, there is a big dice roll between acquiring assets in front of a possible boom in natural gas, and acquiring a boatload of unsustainable debt from acquiring those assets (and paying distributions). We've seen the big nat gas companies blow themselves up before -- in 2000, by getting this bet wrong. But, at this point, who will want to be potentially left behind? Richard Kinder isn't afraid. He's telling the industry to get out of his way. He says that natural gas is coming, like it or not. At the time of publication, Dicker was long EPD and ETP.