Smaller oil and gas producers have been the first to cut natural gas drilling since the August 2008 drilling peak, and represent the bulk of the drilling cuts so far, according to analysis by James Crandell, Biliana Pehlivanova and Michael Zenker of Barclays Capital Research Group. Smaller, so-called "mom-and-pop" companies have often been fast in responding to changing market conditions because private companies don't have growth targets or production guidance such as those that drive decisions for publicly traded companies. "We believe the next round of rig cuts will be overweighted from the independents," they report. "But because several factors will continue to support drilling in 2009, further reductions will come at a slower pace than those of late 2008." According to their analysis, the rig count in 2009 will likely fall well below the level needed to maintain US supply. "We expect US supply to peak in mid-2009, and then fall continuously through the remainder of the year. However, the supply decline will not be steep enough to support prices in 2009."