U.S. Senators Wyden, Murkowski Seek Clarity from DOE on LNG Exports

U.S. Senators Wyden, Murkowski Ask for Clarity on DOE Jurisdiction

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) sent a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz asking under what circumstances the U.S. Department of Energy would use its authority to revoke previously approved export permits for liquefied natural gas (LNG) to non-free trade countries.

Although Wyden and Murkowski have different perspectives on LNG exports, both called on Secretary Moniz to provide greater certainty to industry and consumers about when and how the department might revoke permits.

“We believe greater transparency and certainty in connection with LNG decisions would be beneficial to all parties,” the senators wrote.

DOE says it can change or reverse export approvals under current law when “appropriate circumstances” arise. However, the department has not provided a clear definition of what qualifies as appropriate circumstances, and has left unclear what the process would be to reverse those approvals.

“We request that DOE provide greater clarity on what the agency considers ‘appropriate circumstances’ when the agency might be compelled to revoke or modify an export authorization and explain the applicable process in such a situation,” Wyden and Murkowski wrote.

Under the Natural Gas Act, the department must approve exports to countries that do not share a free trade agreement with the United States. DOE has so far approved two LNG export permits – Sabine Pass and Freeport LNG – and is considering another 21 applications.

LNG World News Staff, August 5, 2013