Friday, August 9, 2013

Feds approve third project to export US natural gas

A ship sits at the Golden Pass import terminal, which is awaiting federal                                                                                                     approval to add an LNG export facility . (Golden Pass Products)
The Obama administration licensed a third company to broadly sell U.S. natural gas overseas on Wednesday, renewing fears that widespread exports of America’s bounty could spike domestic prices for the fossil fuel.
In conditionally approving exports from a $2 billion facility in Lake Charles, La., the Energy Department has now put U.S. companies on track to eventually export as much as 5.6 billion cubic feet of gas per day to Japan and other countries that aren’t free-trade partners with the U.S.
And 19 other export applications are still pending at the Energy Department, propelled by U.S. natural gas producers’ zeal to capitalize on growing demand in Europe and Asia.
Critics say the rush to export domestically harvested natural gas could cause U.S. prices to climb, hiking household energy bills and thwarting a resurgence of U.S. manufacturing.
“Each permit approval brings us closer to the point that would begin to harm the manufacturing renaissance,” warnedAmerica’s Energy Advantage, a group of industrial natural gas users, including Dow Chemical, that is fighting unfettered exports.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who heads the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, suggested the government should be more skeptical as it weighs future export proposals.
“With each new permit to send natural gas overseas, the Energy Department has a higher bar to prove these exports are in the best interests of American consumers and employers,” Wyden said.