The Expedited LNG for American Allies Act of 2013 would amend federal law by requiring the U.S. Energy Department to back exports for NATO members and Japan.
U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said more exports would capitalize on natural gas deposits from Wyoming. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, said his state has plenty of LNG to sell.
Eleven other senators, mostly Republicans, backed the measure.
"This will expand economic opportunities across America and help lower our nation's trade deficit," Barrasso said in a statement. "Our bill will also promote the energy security of key U.S. allies by helping reduce their dependence on oil and gas from countries, such as Russia and Iran."
Japanese natural gas demand has soared in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2010. Only the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana has the permits needed to export LNG to Free Trade Agreement partners and non-FTA partners, like Japan.
The potential for U.S. natural gas trade is limited further by the lack of export terminals.