U.S. natural gas export review could stall

Aug. 16, 2013 at 6:51 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- More than a dozen applications for natural gas exports from the United States could be idled once the government starts weighing new data, a market report said.

The U.S. Energy Department signed off on a recent plan to export liquefied natural gas from an export terminal in Louisiana. It's the third such approval for LNG exports targeting countries that do not have a free trade agreement with the United States.

The government is required to speed up FTA export decisions but is more careful with its consideration for non-FTA deals.

A report Thursday from FBR Capital Markets said the government could move quickly on as many as four LNG export deals like the one in Louisiana before it slows the process.

The report said the Energy Department would likely take a look at the market effects of LNG exports when it publishes its annual energy outlook later this year.

"The next outlook could serve as an opportunity to pause the approval process and evaluate the cumulative impact of approvals as well as changes in the market outlook," the Platts news service quoted the market report as saying.

Critics of LNG exports say it could lead to higher domestic natural gas prices and force consumers to use cheaper coal. Supporters say it would give the United States a competitive edge on the global market.

There are 19 applications for LNG exports still under review.

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