House members ask Chu to facilitate LNG export approvals

A bipartisan coalition of 44 US House members from four Gulf Coast and Midcontinent oil and gas producing states asked US Sec. of Energy Steven Chu to facilitate approval of LNG export terminals around the country.

“With the discovery of vast shale plays in certain parts of our country, many states and regions are now enjoying the benefits of their own natural gas production,” the 10 Democrats and 34 Republicans from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas said in their Aug. 7 letter to Chu.

“This has meant large portions of our country which were previously served by our region via pipeline now have a closer commodity at hand,” they continued. “As such, without the ability to market to international customers, this could have a severe impact on production in our states.”

What they termed “the shale revolution” has increased gas production in their four states, creating lower prices for consumers along with a surplus for producers without new market opportunities, causing many wells to be shut in, the letter said.

“This is why our region and our country need an outlet for gas production,” it said. “Building the energy infrastructure necessary to allow market-based exports of [LNG] will not only add stability to the energy production cycle in our region, it will also allow our area to quickly adapt to the new dynamics of gas production and marketing.”

Although the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licenses terminal and pipeline construction, DOE must approve the actual export licenses. The House members said they appreciated DOE’s starting to review applications and issue licenses, and added they were aware of a pending study of impacts from allowing more US gas exports beyond what already exists to Canada and Mexico.

“However, the process does not seem to have a set timeline for decisions or a sense of urgency,” their letter continued. “In our collective view, it is time to bring a renewed sense of urgency to the process.”

Reps. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who is a House Infrastructure and Transportation committee member, and Gene Green (D-Tex.), who serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, led the effort.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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