Manufacturing News

Dow Chemical CEO chides “entitlement society”, repeats calls for discounted gas


The Australian-born CEO and chairman of US-based Dow Chemical company, Andrew Liveris, has repeated his call for the limiting gas exports to boost the manufacturing sector, and criticised both political infighting and the “entitlement society” in Australia.

Liveris, who has been a vigorous proponent of gas reservations in both the United States and Australia, has used the example of the shale gas in the United States and its spurring a “manufacturing renaissance” and an example of what cheaper gas can do for chemical manufacturers.

The CEO told Sky Business that Dow would invest heavily in Australia, as it had in other parts of the world, if it could be assured cheaper gas, and cited the value-add properties of an affordable energy supply.

"Look, we put our money where our mouth is,” The Australian reports Liveris as having said. “Right now in Saudi Arabia, Dow and Saudi Aramco are investing in a $20 billion value-add complex.

"Every (US) dollar of input of their gas is going to create $US8 of output. Every job in the oil and gas sector, I will create five jobs downstream.”

Liveris and Dow have in the past, such as in the company’s Advanced Manufacturing Plan for Australia report, called for a need to “balance” gas exports and imports, pointing to what is claimed to be the self-interest of gas producers, whose exports are leading to higher domestic prices.

“On one side are consumers and manufacturers—including The Dow Chemical Company, which I lead—who want to maximize America's new competitive advantage by adopting a measured approach to natural-gas policy,” he wrote in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week.

“On the other side are energy producers who want to quickly export massive quantities of natural gas, even bypassing a public-interest review process required by law.”

Liveris has previously told the US senate that Australia’s unrestrictive policies on LNG exports were an example of “getting it wrong”.

"Last time I checked (oil and gas companies) were incredibly profitable. So $US100 oil price related to a domestic gas price — why should the domestic consumer pay the $US100 oil price, which is a geopolitical price driven by non-private sector interests?

“Seventy five per cent of the world's oil reserves are controlled by nation states."

Liveris also took aim at the need at the Australian government, stating that social program spending to be matched to government revenues, and that infighting was unhelpful.

"We can't go into an entitlement society again . . . I do think, being an exporter means that we better be able to export,” he said.

“So we better build infrastructure. I think lots of those things are not happening as well as they used to. There are lots of things to worry about in this current version of Australia.”

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