Oil & Gas Journal said a dozen LNG proposed projects – enough to liquefy more than 13 Bcfd of natural gas – are “potentially at risk following the Biden administration’s decision last week to halt new export authorizations to non-Free Trade Agreement countries.” Journal analyzed data from Center for LNG and U.S. Department of Energy.
Biden administration ordered a pause of new export authorizations Jan. 26 while the DOE enhances its review process to consider climate and economic effects of more exports. Five of the stalled projects had already received approval from FERC.
U.S. is expected to expand LNG exports to meet growing demand in China (world’s leading LNG purchaser) and northeast and southeast Asia. Journal said these projects are paused at least until after this year’s presidential election.
U.S. is the world’s largest LNG exporter after surpassing Qatar and Australia last year. Total LNG operating capacity is 14 Bcfd, and DOE has already authorized an increase to 48 Bcfd. Five major LNG export projects are under construction, including Corpus Christi Stage III (Cheniere), Rio Grande (Next Decade) and Port Arthur (Sempra). DOE spokesman told Oil & Gas Journal the new LNG review process “will take months.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVa), chairman of Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said, “Let me be crystal clear: America’s LNG policy should be based on facts, not politics. The indisputable facts are that, to date, America’s LNG production has strengthened our economy, created good-paying jobs, supported the energy needs of our allies around the world, and helped reduce global emissions.”
Several industry groups – including American Petroleum Institute, Independent Petroleum Association of America, American Exploration and Production Council, and Center for LNG – warned in a letter to U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm that any further restriction of LNG exports could exacerbate the energy crisis in Europe, threaten U.S. jobs, and force developing nations to rely on coal for their growing energy needs.