Thanks to revolutionary technologies such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the U.S. is producing more natural gas than ever and is seeking to export the commodity as LNG. But some companies are confronting increasingly long waits for the DOE to complete the reviews of their proposed LNG export projects, the International Business Times reports.
According to data compiled by the EIA, the U.S. is currently producing 14% more of its own energy than it did in 2005. Delays in the approval process for LNG exports have been byproducts of the debate within the U.S. government on how much natural gas should be exported without increasing natural gas prices and thus decreasing supplies in the U.S.
Advocates of LNG export facilities argue that investment in the construction sector will positively impact the U.S. economy, as it will inject economic activity into industries related to the energy sector.
Read Oilpro's Q & A: US LNG Exports?
Australia and several other countries have recently stated their intention to enter the LNG export market and will compete for the same contracts as the U.S. For this reason, the American Council for Capital Formation came out with a report in July that emphasized the need for the DOE to make haste with the LNG export applications currently in queue.
Four projects have been approved in the past two years. The most recent approval was issued in September, when Dominion Resources received approval for the Cove Point terminal on the Maryland shore of Chesapeake Bay. The DOE has authorized 6.37 billion cubic feet of LNG from the plant to be sold overseas to date.
The Dominion Cove Point LNG Terminal
The cause of the delay not only stems from the Obama administration's ostensible ambivalence about LNG exports, but also from the partial government shutdown which has stopped the LNG project review process.
The API has also vigorously weighed in on the need for the DOE to act with dispatch in approving the LNG export licenses. Erik Milito, the organization's director of upstream and industry operations, said, "There is a global race to build this infrastructure and secure a competitive position in the international market...These terminals would allow other nations to purchase a valuable American product, support U.S. exports, and help reduce global emissions."