US Energy Department - Trump administration supports LNG exports

22 June 2017 10:45 Source:ICIS

The US government under the administration of President Donald Trump strongly supports exporting US natural gas in the form of LNG, a government official said on 21 June at the CWC World LNG Summit in Houston.

Robert J. Smith, acting assistant deputy secretary at the Department of Energy (DOE), in an update on permitting of US LNG projects, said US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has highlighted his full support for LNG exports.

Smith talked up the role of the US as the global leader in gas production.

With US natural gas still abundant and relatively cheap – prices in hubs like the Algonquin and mid-Atlantic are significantly lower than the US benchmark Henry Hub – the prospects for increased exports make financial sense.

At the same time, while the DOE has approved export permits for more than 21 billion cubic feet (bcf) of LNG per day, only 10bcf/day of projects have made final investment decisions and are under construction.

Smith said he does not foresee the DOE revoking any project authorisations because it recognizes that these LNG projects require investments of $10s of billions, and all participants must act in good faith.

“DOE has never revoked authorisation; nor has it contemplated,” he said. “DOE does not view export authorisations as a price maintenance mechanism, and any changes in export licences would only be taken for extraordinary measures.”

In the following panel discussion, the conversation touched on the US regulatory process.

Fred Hutchinson, executive director of LNG Allies, which represents US LNG sellers particularly for prospective European buyers, said the US regulatory system works fairly well for the approvals that have already been made.

“We have a good situation here in the US. We have a sound, legally defensible transparent process,” he said.

Charlie Riedl, executive director of the Center for LNG, said that the association was advocating for an expedited DOE non-free trade agreement approval process and currently was being considered in an energy package proposed by Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska.

By Adam Yanelli