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Why U.S. Lawmakers, Foreign Countries Want More U.S. Energy Exports

Foreign Policy explores "the geopolitics of gas exports," explaining why "lawmakers from both parties, and plenty of countries overseas, are desperate to speed up U.S. energy exports."  

"The Energy Department approved the construction of a new multi-billion terminal for exporting U.S. natural gas overseas, only the sixth green light the Obama administration has given during 18 months of bitter political jousting over how to best take advantage of the United States' sudden energy abundance."  

"Proponents of greater energy exports in Congress, as well as the growing number of countries that want to buy U.S. natural gas, are pushing the White House to sign off on projects more quickly. The Obama administration is still mulling whether to clear the way for the construction of another 25 export facilities. If approved, the new facilities could have the capacity to liquefy and export nearly 35 billion cubic feet a day of natural gas."  

"There's a catch, though. U.S. law makes it extremely difficult for American companies to export natural gas to countries that don't have free trade agreements with Washington. Companies that want to sell to those countries need to persuade the Energy Department that the deals would be in the U.S. national interest, a criteria without a formal definition. That makes the approval process a lengthy and byzantine process that is deeply frustrating for would-be purchasers of U.S. gas. At the same time, big gas producers such as Qatar and Australia are ramping up their own gas-export capabilities, threatening to close the window of opportunity for U.S. exporters."

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