Processing Magazine

Dow CEO testifies on impact of U.S. natural gas crisis on industry

November 14, 2005

Andrew Liveris, president and chief executive officer of The Dow Chemical Company, testified November 9 during a House Appropriations joint sub-committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on the impact of high and volatile U.S. natural gas prices on the nation''s energy consumers, particularly the chemical industry. According to PRNewswire, Liveris, representing both Dow and the American Chemistry Council (ACC), appeared before the House Sub-committees on Appropriations for Energy and Water Development; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. He urged government action to address "one of the worst energy crises in American history." During his oral testimony, Liveris said that over the past six years the price of U.S. natural gas has risen to record high levels — and become uncompetitive with the rest of the world. Liveris stated that high and volatile U.S. natural gas prices are now poised to affect all natural gas consumers — industrial, agricultural and residential. During his testimony Liveris also said that, like other U.S.-based manufacturers, Dow has been forced to take aggressive action to mitigate the impact of high and volatile energy and feedstock costs, including: improving the company''s energy efficiency by 42 percent since 1990; raising product prices; shutting down 23 inefficient plants in North America; and shifting some production overseas to regions of the world where energy prices are lower. Liveris emphasized that recent U.S. natural gas price spikes have been caused by government policies that increased demand for domestic natural gas yet limited access to the nation''s natural gas supplies. He encouraged government action to balance these energy policies in order to address the root cause of the U.S. natural gas crisis and to make the nation more attractive for future industry investment.