Liveris gets liverish on energy

China, Middle East

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Great stuff from the big boss of Dow Chemical in this article from USA Today.

Gems from the interview include “corn-based ethanol, one of the dumbest ideas of all time” and “the whole hydrogen (fuel cell) approach is dumb.”

He adds: “Frankly, when free markets prevail, we have to shut down factories and replace overseas in places like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia, Brazil, Thailand, China and Oman, where governments lock in energy availability, guarantee prices and de-risk our investment.”

These are all countries in which Dow has already or plans to invest with the proposed PIC deal the biggest breakthrough for tackling its feedstock disadvantages. Whereas the jury might still be out on whether the US major will win in specialities, it does seem as if it has gone a long way to avoiding being one of the companies I wrote about yesterday.

Liveris makes the much wider point that without an energy policy which makes sense, the US faces a pretty bleak economic future. He quite rightly points out that unless there are some major breakthroughs in renewables, hydrocarbons have to be a major part of a workable policy.

But I don’t agree with Liveris when he says “We aren’t occupying Iraq for the resources”.

I’ve just started reading David Strahan’s The Last Oil Shock, which makes a pretty convincing argument over the real thinking behind the hugely bundled invasion.

Then again, though, perhaps what Liveris means is that the intention of the occupation might have been for resources, but that’s not what the occupation is about now because of the hopeless failure of politicans such as Rumsfeld, Cheney etc.

Next stop Iran? At least Bush is on the way out, but the energy stakes are so high perhaps any administration will need to dress up further military action as something else to secure America’s economic future.

But surely, this must be less politically acceptable than tackling all the greenies who are blocking offshore drilling and coal gasification and the farmers making a packet out of ethanol?

Maybe not if it’s about distribution of votes in those key marginal States – meaning more fat subsidies one of the dumbest ideas of all time.

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