Congressmen want administration to speed up LNG export review
(Reuters; June 29) -- U.S. lawmakers representing states rich in shale gas called for the Obama administration to expedite approval of liquefied natural gas exports June 29, mounting the first real push in support of gas exports on Capitol Hill. A bipartisan coalition of 21 lawmakers in the House said the Obama administration needs to move forward with its review of companies looking to export LNG. The supporters of U.S. LNG exports say the nation could fall behind Canada and Australia in taking market share.
Until now, lawmakers have mostly stayed on the sidelines regarding the issue of selling gas abroad, a prospect that has come to the forefront due to the booming U.S. natural gas sector, but potentially pits gas-buying manufacturers and utilities that enjoy lower prices against gas producers that want higher prices. The rapid expansion of U.S. shale gas production has led to a gas glut that has pushed prices down to levels producers say are unsustainable.
"One answer to the growing supply and demand imbalance is to allow American producers to capture a share of a growing global LNG market," lawmakers said in their letter, which was pushed by Ohio congressmen Republican Bill Johnson and Democrat Tim Ryan. Critics of exports argue cheap prices have helped spur a manufacturing resurgence that could be threatened if U.S. gas goes overseas. The administration has delayed a decision on eight export projects, pending completion of an economics study.