Wyden sees flaws in DOE-commissioned LNG export study

The US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s new chairman raised questions about an independent study the US Department of Energy is using to determine whether applications to export LNG are in the national interest.

The study, conducted for DOE by NERA Economic Consulting, is seriously flawed, US Sen. Ronald A. Wyden (D-Ore.), said in a Jan. 10 letter to US Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The shortcomings of the NERA study are numerous and render this study insufficient for the department to use in any export determination,” the senator said.

“The NERA study would need to be updated with new [US Energy Information Administration] projections, more realistic market assumptions, regional impacts of the proposed actual export terminals, and evaluations of the actual impacts on consumers and businesses of exporting LNG,” Wyden suggested.

The senator asked Chu to have DOE correct the study’s flaws before using it as a basis for any LNG export decisions.

American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard, meanwhile, said that efforts by some industrial gas customers to restrict LNG exports are short-sighted.

“America’s newfound abundance of natural gas resources is a boon to all domestic manufacturing through lower energy costs, lower costs on raw materials, and reduced heating bills,” he told reporters during a teleconference.

“Restricting exports of energy as a ‘strategic resource’ makes no more sense than unnecessarily restricting the export of chemicals, agriculture products, or cars—and such a backward move could violate international trade rules,” he warned.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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