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Natural gas export plans threaten historic alliances

The Oklahoman's Energy Editor Adam Wilmoth writes that a plan to help boost natural gas prices by allowing liquefied natural gas exports has set producers at odds with manufacturers.
by Adam Wilmoth Published: January 25, 2013

Some of the country's largest natural gas consumers, however, aren't buying the argument.

Dow Chemical Co. this week said it will not invest in a planned $6.5 billion natural gas export project at a Houston-area terminal it partially owns.

George Blitz, Dow's vice president of energy and climate change, this week told Bloomberg the country's largest chemical maker “has no interest in” the liquefied natural gas project, which could export up to 1.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Dow has said repeatedly over the past two years that “indiscriminately” exporting natural gas could drive up fuel costs and threaten the industry's planned expansion and construction projects. Dow last month joined with three other chemical companies, aluminum producer Alcoa Inc., steel producer Nucor Corp. and the American Public Gas Association to create a group called America's Energy Advantage to challenge exports.

Last week, Dow withdrew from the National Association of Manufacturers because that group endorsed an export plan.

The struggle between natural gas and chemicals producers likely is just beginning.

If natural gas prices do not go up significantly this winter, look for the export debate to get much louder.

by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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