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US chemical companies take different sides over proposed gas exports

January 28/2013

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The debate over whether the US should export its abundant new supplies of natural gas is creating divisions within powerful groups that represent some of the nation's largest companies, according to hydrocarbonprocessing

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) both posted statements online this week in support of natural-gas exports, saying free-trade policies will allow US businesses to expand. Both groups say they adopted formal positions months ago that natural-gas should be exported without restraint.

In response, Dow Chemical, a leading opponent of unfettered exports, said it might leave the groups. The company believes that their decisions on this issue are being influenced by the oil and gas industry. Dow thinks that the US would be better served by exporting manufactured goods rather than raw materials. Thus,  Dow's future membership "remains to be seen," said company spokeswoman Nancy Lamb.

By showing favor toward natural-gas exports, NAM and the ACC risk alienating high-profile member companies in industries such as chemicals and steel. Those companies, including Nucor Corp. and Celanese Corp., say unlimited shipments to foreign buyers will create added demand for US natural gas, raising domestic prices and threatening investment in US manufacturing.

Earlier this month, Dow, Nucor and Celanese helped to form America's Energy Advantage, a group that pushes for limits on natural-gas exports. Other members of the group include Alcoa and Eastman Chemical.

The idea of exporting US natural gas has surfaced in the last few years after advances in drilling techniques unlocked new supplies that were previously thought to be uneconomical to produce.

The Energy Department is currently reviewing more than a dozen proposals to export gas to countries lacking a free-trade agreement with the US, a category that includes major natural-gas consumers such as Japan and nations in Western Europe. As MRC reported previously, Chemicals major Ineos had signed an agreement to secure ethane from the US that it would  use as a feedstock to operate its steam crackers in Europe. It has agreed a long-term deal with Range Resources Corp. for the lifting of ethane from the Marcus Hook facility, located near Philadelphia, from 2015.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:slanceviy gaz, Celanece, Dow, Eastman Chemical, Ineos ChlorVinyls, USA.
Category:General News
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