US can export 5% of natgas without affecting price - Liveris

08 March 2012 23:40  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US could export 5% of its natural gas before the shipments start affecting prices, Dow Chemical's chief executive Andrew Liveris said on Thursday.

The advent of shale gas has provided the country with growing supplies of low-cost natural gas.

However, the new supplies have created a debate about whether the nation should export the gas or use it domestically as a fuel and a source of power.

"Some exports will occur and I think that's logical," Liveris said during the IHS CERAWeek energy conference.

"Our numbers tell us there should be some exports, and they should happen and they're risky and they are very much a big bet on the world gas price," he said.

However, "if we allow the world oil price to come into this country through exporting every piece of the gas we can, we will cripple our country", Liveris said.

"I think we've got to be careful, 5% of the gas might be exported without affecting domestic gas prices," he said.

"We can't mandate it, but we've got to be very thoughtful and that's where I look at government and saying, 'What do you want to do with respect to job creation inside the economy'," he said.

Earlier on Thursday, Liveris stressed the need for a national energy policy to address questions about natural gas.

Instead of exporting natural gas, companies could use it as a power source or as a feedstock for chemicals.

These could earn higher margins than exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG), he said.

"There's nothing to stop energy companies from going downstream and doing that," Livers said. "Why don't we, in fact, export products as solids?"

IHS CERAWeek ends on Friday.

By: Al Greenwood
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