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Japan nuclear crisis could increase demand for US natgas

March 28/2011

(ICIS) -- The ongoing nuclear power disaster in Japans tsunami-devastated north could in the long term increase US natural gas demand, creating feedstock issues for US petrochemical producers, a top industry official said on Sunday.

Jim Cooper, vice president for petrochemicals at the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), said that the unfolding crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex could chill recently improving support for a new US nuclear power expansion programme.

Citing the Japan nuclear power plant crisis, Cooper said that there is a chance that this could push more US utilities to natural gas rather than a nuclear option, and that is a concern.

US petrochemical producers and downstream chemical makers are heavily dependent on natural gas as a feedstock, and chemical companies along with a broad range of other US manufacturers also depend in large measure on natgas as an energy fuel. Anything that increases demand on domestic US natural gas could in turn raise availability and pricing issues for companies that use natgas as a feedstock.

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