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Export nod frustrates Freeport LNG

HOUSTON, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Freeport LNG Chief Executive Officer Michael Smith said he was disappointed with conditions set by the U.S. Department of Energy for a planned Texas terminal.

The Department of Energy last week gave Freeport LNG the authority to ship liquefied natural gas from a planned Texas facility to countries that do not have a free trade agreement with the United States. The approval was for 1 billion cubic feet per day less than what the company sought.

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"We're quite disappointed in the order itself," Smith told the Platts energy news service Monday. "They're basically making the rules up as they go along."

The Department of Energy is obligated to pass export applications for countries with a U.S. free trade agreement but may restrict or otherwise modify applications for exports to countries that don't have such agreements.

Smith said he was frustrated with the lack of disclosure from the Department of Energy regarding its decision-making process for LNG exports.

Critics of the export of LNG say it will lead to more hydraulic fracturing -- a controversial drilling practice they view as an environmental threat -- of shale natural gas reserves and to higher domestic natural gas prices.

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