Free Market Fundamentalist Opinion

US Government Considers Gas Export Restrictions

Energy producers want to export American gas but manufacturers are critical because they rely on cheap domestic gas.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the federal government in the United States “will soon weigh in on a fight between companies that want to export some of America’s fast growing supply of natural gas and big manufacturers that oppose the exports because they rely on cheap domestic gas.”

As a result of expanded domestic gas production, prices in the United States are low compared to prices in other nations so producers like ConocoPhillips want to export. Manufacturers like Dow Chemical are opposed to it because if gas is exported, domestic supply will shrink and prices will rise.

That’s all good but why is the government involving itself in this fight? If private gas producers want to sell their product overseas rather than at home, that’s their right and prerogative. Of course, that would mean manufacturers had to spend more on energy so they’re complaining, lobbying with legislators to put America first, the hell with the free-market economy!

It gets worse. There wouldn’t be a general ban on gas exports. Rather companies could apply for a license to export which, one imagines, the big energy companies could afford to purchase or peddle for whereas smaller producers are left in the cold, forced to sell their product far below the price they could get for it abroad.

But certainly, the problem is that there isn’t enough regulation in the energy sector!