24 March 2002 22:55 [Source: ICIS news]
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (CNI)--Legislation to establish a new and comprehensive US energy policy is "more likely than not" by the end of this year and it will have major impact on the future of the US chemicals industry, top industry officials said here Sunday.
Bob Slaughter, newly installed president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), told a press conference Sunday that he thinks it likely that a new energy bill will emerge from Congress this year, although the bill’s final form is far from certain.
Slaughter said the energy bill already passed by the US House "has several pluses" as far as the chemicals industry is concerned, including provisions for increased development of oil and gas resources in Alaska and other measures "focused on ensuring an adequate supply of gas and petroleum to the US."
He also cited as a major "plus" the House bill’s provision for an Alaskan pipeline system to bring Alaskan gas to US major markets. He said the Senate version, still in development, is "less supportive" of the chemical industry’s supply concerns, but he said he hopes that a reasonable bill will emerge from a conference committee that will marry the Senate and House versions together.
Duane Gilliam, executive vice president of Marathon Ashland and chairman of NPRA, cautioned that the Senate bill’s provisions mandating a three-fold increase in US use of ethanol as a fuels supplement or oxygenate is a violation of the free market system.
Slaughter also raised concerns about elements in the Senate bill that would eliminate existing provisions that allow chemicals producers to co-generate electric power and sell that power into the power grid. He said power companies are pressing for elimination of that capability.
Slaughter and Gilliam spoke on the opening day of the NPRA-sponsored International Petrochemical Conference (IPC). The IPC continues through Tuesday.
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