Producing-state lawmakers push for LNG export approval

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Latest Oil and Gas News: 
August 9, 2012

(Reuters; Aug. 7) - U.S. lawmakers Aug. 7 ratcheted up pressure on the Obama administration to speed approval for companies to export natural gas, arguing it would help relieve a glut that has dampened output of the fuel. The export approval process at the Department of Energy, "does not seem to have a set timeline for decisions or a sense of urgency," Reps. Gene Green, a Texas Democrat, and James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican, said in a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

"Our region and our country need an outlet for natural gas production," Green and Lankford said in a letter signed by 44 House lawmakers from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas, 10 of which were Democrats. The U.S. natural gas surplus "has produced very low prices for producers and an absence of market opportunities for natural gas, leading many wells to be shut in," the letter said.

It was the second real push from Capitol Hill in support of LNG exports after a group of lawmakers from states rich in shale gas wrote Chu in late June. The Energy Department has only approved full export rights for one project - Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass, La., terminal - and is waiting on the results from a study of the economic implications of exports before acting on other applications. Critics of gas exports say they could significantly raise fuel prices for U.S. home owners and gas-dependent businesses.

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