CHICAGO A nonprofit group of businesses and organizations that includes steelmaker Nucor Corp. and aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. is concerned that exports of natural gas could hurt the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.
Americas Energy Advantagewhose founding members include Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor and Pittsburgh-based Alcoacontends that affordable natural gas has fueled a rebirth of manufacturing in the United States, but that renaissance could be jeopardized by natural gas exports and a subsequent increase in natural gas prices.
"As our country continues to face sustained economic and employment challenges, manufacturing has been one of the few sectors to actually add jobs," Nucor public affairs director Jennifer Diggins said in a statement. "There is no doubt this is in large part due to the affordability of natural gas."
Cheap natural gas gives energy-intensive industries, such as steel, a competitive edge against countries "that unfairly subsidize their exports," Diggins said.
The group said that a boost in exports would raise prices for U.S. natural gas consumers.
A host of energy firms are exploring natural gas export projects as they look to take advantage of the spread between low-priced natural gas in North America and higher prices in markets in Europe and Asia (amm.com, June 5, Oct. 5 and Jan. 9).