WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. economy would be better off if natural gas producers could get better access to export markets by way of liquefied natural gas, a trade group said.
Last week, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy calling for LNG exports.
They pointed to a report from NERA Economic Consulting, which said last year there were "net economic benefits" to LNG exports.
Erik Milito, director of upstream activity for the American Petroleum Institute, said U.S. export markets should take advantage of rising domestic natural gas production.
"The U.S. is awash in natural gas with huge additional productive capacity that could be ramped up in relatively short order to fully supply domestic and likely export markets well into the future," Milito said in a statement.
New technology used to extract natural gas from shale has positioned the United States as a world leader in terms of reserves, though trade is affected by limited LNG export terminals.
The NERA report said LNG exports wouldn't affect the country's overall employment picture. Milito, however, said "if we allow natural gas producers to export natural gas when they find opportunities to do so, American workers and our nation's economy will be better off."