A bill introduced by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators last week calls for the export of liquefied natural gas for Japan and NATO allies. The potential for U.S. natural gas trade is limited by the lack of export terminals.
Smith, assigned to the Energy Department's oil and natural gas office, told a utility meeting in Washington that his office was considering the latest report on the economic effects of LNG exports.
NERA Economic Consulting, in a report last year under a commission from the Energy Department, said potential exports of LNG could have "net economic benefits" for the United States but not affect the country's overall employment picture.
Smith said the energy department was reviewing that report, along with results from the department's Energy Information Administration but the department has the final say, the Platts news service reports.
"That is a process that is still managed by the (energy department) and the secretary of energy has the ultimate responsibility for making that decision," he said.
This week, Canadian regulators approved a 25-year license for LNG exports from a proposed export terminal in British Columbia.