USA: AEA Files LNG Export Motion

USA: AEA Files LNG Export Motion

In a major new development in the debate over LNG exports, America’s Energy Advantage (AEA) filed a formal motion to intervene in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) proceeding for the Freeport LNG Expansion, L.P. and FLNG Liquefaction (FLEX) export application.

DOE is currently reviewing the application, which if authorized would raise the cumulative volume of authorized exports of LNG to 8.31 Bcf/d, which would go beyond the “low export scenario” level identified in a NERA report DOE used to grant three previous LNG export applications.

AEA is seeking a more formal rulemaking process based on current data and assessments of today’s supply and demand environment, and noted that current applications are being granted based on guidelines developed for gas imports in the 1980s. AEA’s motion also indicates that the legal standards that DOE used to analyze the public interest in two previous grant applications were not “adequate, appropriate, or sustainable.”

“DOE is making decisions that will have far-reaching and potentially irreversible impacts on consumers, our economy, and America’s manufacturing renewal based on 30-year-old guidelines for natural gas imports, not exports. No matter where one stands on this issue, surely we can agree that exports and imports are different, and that DOE needs to make rules based on the 21st century, not the 1980s,” said Jennifer Diggins, Director, Public Affairs for Nucor Corporation and Chair of AEA.

“We felt the need to file a formal motion because American consumers of natural gas deserve as much say in the process as producers,” said Diggins. “All we’re saying is that the public interest test is important, and that DOE needs to take a more methodical and legally-based approach to defining what that public interest is. DOE itself conceded that ‘the market of the future very likely will not resemble the market of today’ in its previous grant applications, but what data are they using to project that future? Nobody knows.”

Diggins concluded: “As a result of available and affordable natural gas in the U.S., more than 120 manufacturing projects valued at nearly $110 billion of economic investment have been announced, including thousands of new jobs. Our country cannot afford to lose these job-creating investments or hurt consumers by driving up the cost of utility bills. We have a right to be heard in this debate.”

AEA submitted yesterday’s motion following DOE’s failure in recently issued export authorizations to apply reasonable standards for assessing the public interest as required by the NGA. As AEA stressed in its motion: “It is not enough for DOE to summarily refer to the public interest, vaguely acknowledge that conditions may change, and imply that these changed conditions could possibly affect pending and future proceedings or retroactively affect previously granted authorizations. The development of an LNG export industry in the United States has widespread consequences affecting all segments of the American public interest, including the economy, the environment, public policy, international relations and the quality of life for American citizens.”

LNG World News Staff, September 19, 2013