Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, says Dow Chemical and other corporate opponents to exporting U.S. natural gas are limited to just "a handful, but they're very shrill." Gerard made his comments this morning at a breakfast with reporters in Dallas. API is the Washington-based trade association for U.S. major oil and gas producers. Gerard also said he believes Dow "has backed off a bit" in seeking to restrict natural gas exports because it is losing support for that stance within the chemical industry. Dow has been the most vocal among big users of natural gas components, which serve as feedstock for petrochemical production, who fear exports of liquefied natural gas will drive up U.S. prices, which have only recently risen from 10-year lows.
The issue is gaining steam as developers have filed close to 20 applications for permits to liquefy and export U.S. natural gas. Ernst Moniz, recently sworn in as Energy Secretary for the Obama Administration, this week said he would delay decisions on the permits pending further study. Gerard said API believes that barring a clear reason to say no, the federal government should grant the permits and let the industry determine how many of the hugely expensive export facilities will actually be built. "Let the market work out who invests $10 billion and who doesn't," he said.
-- Jim Fuquay