Senate bill would boost NATO LNG sales

Dec. 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- A bill in the U.S. Senate would encourage exports of liquefied natural gas to NATO countries to address an over-reliance on gas supplies from Russia and Iran.

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said Wednesday his LNG for NATO Act, which would make changes to the export licensing rules for LNG, was important to U.S. national security because it would help diversify energy supplies among its NATO allies.

"For the first time, vigorous U.S. diplomacy can be coupled with allowing free trade in liquefied natural gas from the United States," Lugar said in a written statement. "Now is the time to dramatically shift gas markets to blunt the temptation for political manipulation of supplies by Russia and Iran."

Luger is ranking Republican in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His bill would amend the U.s. Natural Gas Act to put NATO nations on the same automatic licensing regime as other U.S. free-trade partners.

Luger also released a report on the security implications of Western Europe's growing reliance on gas from the Caspian Sea region. A key recommendation was support for the development of the so-called Southern Corridor, which would transport gas directly from the Caspian to southern Europe without the involvement of Russia or Iran.

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