Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Oklahoma and the Impending War on Natural Gas Exports

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Low natural gas prices aren’t good for business in big-energy states like Oklahoma, so producers and politicians are doing what they can to boost consumption.

This means promoting new technologies — like Gov. Mary Fallin’s push for more natural-gas vehicles — and expanding into new markets. The Oklahoman’s Adam Wilmoth sees a fight on the horizon:

One of the more controversial strategies to increase natural gas consumption is the effort to build liquefied natural gas export terminals to send the fuel to Europe and Asia, where it is selling for up to five times as much as here at home.

The natural gas industry says exporting LNG will have a “minimal effect” on U.S. prices. But big natural gas consumers — namely chemical and manufacturing giants — disagree.

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.

As our partners at StateImpact Texas report, low natural gas prices have been good to industry. Petrochemical plants have been saving on cheap gas and expanding operations.

That means they’re able to make cheaper products, like plastic, and better compete against firms in Europe and Asia “where natural gas is far more expensive,” Dave Fehling reports.

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