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USS eyes vertical integration in natural gas

Keywords: Tags  U.S. Steel, natural gas, John Surma, steel, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — U.S. Steel Corp. is considering vertically integrating into natural gas if the opportunity is right, its top executive said.

"We’ve actually examined a few opportunities, and I think it’s something we’ll continue to look at, subject ... to availability of capital," chairman and chief executive officer John Surma said during the steelmaker’s recent first-quarter earnings call.

Surma said that the company was looking at a variety of approaches to enter that market, be they "financial" or "physical, where you’re taking a working interest or you have a production team," he said. "I think we have all that on the griddle."

The move could represent a large cost-saving for U.S. Steel, a major user of natural gas. Higher natural gas prices are expected to contribute to an operating loss in the Pittsburgh-based steelmaker’s flat-rolled segment during the second quarter, according to the company’s first-quarter earnings statement.

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