US Won’t Gain by Keeping Natural Gas Boom to Itself
By David Nicklaus
The U.S. likes to hector the rest of the world about free trade. We complain when China limits exports of rare-earth minerals, and we criticized Vietnam in 2007 for banning rice exports.
When it comes to natural gas, however, the U.S. isn’t so sure about trade. We have a glut of cheap gas at the moment, and some people in the petrochemical industry want to keep it that way.
Natural gas in this country sells for $4 per million British thermal units, compared with about $12 in Europe and as much as $18 in Asia.
That price advantage has held down electricity costs, because natural gas now fuels about one-fourth of power generation, and cheap energy is luring back factories that had moved overseas in search of cheap labor.
One study, by Boston Consulting Group, says this reshoring trend could create between 2.5 million and 5 million jobs by the end of the decade.
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