Trade group wants US to lengthen comment period for LNG exports

17 June 2014 22:10 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--America's Energy Advantage, a trade group that includes several large chemical companies, wants the US to allow more time to comment on changes to its export rules for liquefied natural gas (LNG), it said on Tuesday.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) may start giving precedence to proposed LNG export terminals that have already received permitting approval from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Under the current system, such projects are placed in a queue, in which precedence is given based on when the applications are received − and not on how far the applications have progressed.

Companies need to receive approval for their LNG export projects if they intend to ship the LNG to countries with which the US lacks free-trade agreements (FTAs).

Because of the scope of the change, America's Energy Advantage said the US should extend the public-comment period to 120 days.

The group gave several reasons why the US should allow more time for comments.

New greenhouse gas standards will affect 600 existing coal-fired power plants, the group said. These standards could cause a large shift to natural gas as a fuel for power plants.

This would cause a large and sustained increase in demand for natural gas, the group said.

In addition, the US has already approved several LNG terminals. The approved terminals could export so much gas, the US would surpass Qatar as the largest exporter of the fuel, America's Energy Advantage said.

"Price increases of this scale could translate into more than $60bn a year in higher energy costs for American consumers and businesses," the group said.

Also, US domestic supplies of natural gas are at their lowest levels in 11 years, America's Energy Advantage said. This underscores the strength of domestic demand for the fuel.

The group also warned that in 16 years, the US could exhaust its low-cost supplies of natural gas.

LNG exports are a key issue for petrochemical companies because they rely on natural gas both as a fuel and a feedstock.

Members of America's Energy Advantage include Dow Chemical, Huntsman, Celanese, Eastman and Alcoa.
By Al Greenwood