A number of United States senators recently sent a letter to the U.S. secretary of energy, Ernest Moniz, requesting the Department of Energy (DOE) to slow its approval of large volumes of liquefied natural gas exports.
The letter signatories requested the DOE to slow down its approval process “until more terminals are operating and the impacts of LNG exports can be evaluated.” Senators believe it would be better to first evaluate the impacts of the approved projects before approving additional LNG exports.
As of August 2016, the DOE has approved 18 export applications to non-Free Trade Agreement (non-FTA) countries totaling 14.44 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d), or nearly 20 percent of 2015 domestic dry natural gas production, the letter reads. The DOE has also conditionally approved another 0.8 bcf/d for non-FTA countries.
Including applications that have been approved for export to FTA countries, which the DOE automatically approves; authorized LNG exports total 49.19 bcf/d, or more than 60 percent of 2015 production, not including the natural gas that the U.S. exports to Canada and Mexico by pipeline.
The senators further voiced their concern over the possibility that LNG exports will increase domestic natural gas prices, which, in turn, would disproportionately harm domestic industries, increase the price of energy for U.S. households and disproportionately harm states or regions of the country that do not produce large amounts of natural gas.
The signatories have also asked the DOE to explain how it takes into account potential volumes to FTA countries, as the agency reviews applications for exports to non-FTA countries?
How does the agency address uncertainty in the natural gas market, how would LNG exports impact the competitiveness of U.S. industries and does the DOE have the authority to withdraw approved applications, if the agency subsequently determines that LNG exports are no longer in the interest of the U.S. public, are also the questions asked in the letter.
Senators further claim that DOE does not sufficiently consider climate change when reviewing LNG export applications.
LNG World News Staff