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LNG approval export process

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

On May 29th the US DOE announced changes in the approval process for the export of LNG to non-free trade agreement (FTA) countries. The APGA has said that the DOE is under enormous pressure form all sides of the debate about the export of LNG and pro export groups, and environmentalists, as well as those concerned about exports such as the APGA and America’s Energy Advantage (AEA) have directly and indirectly been pressuring the DOE to speed up or slow down exports.

The changes

In response to the pressure being put on the DOE, it said it specifically would:

  • No longer offer conditional approval of exports to non-FTA countries, and would instead wait to give final approval to projects upon the completion of the national environment policy act (NEPA) reviews at FERC.
  • Will conduct a new economic impact study on exports of LNG in the 12 – 20 billion ft3/d range.
  • Release two reports on the lifecycle emissions of unconventional gas drilling and on the lifecycle emissions of LNG exports.

Pleasing the masses

The APGA has said that at a basic level, the DOE’s announcement appears to be designed to give each group something that it wants. The DOE has effectively reshuffled the queue for applications, moving only those projects there were economically viable and therefore likely to be completed, to the front for consideration by only reviewing those projects that had completed a NEPA review at FERC, and this appears to have been done for the pro export proponents. The change, in APGA’s view, seemingly advantages the largest, deep pocketed companies by moving them up in the queue and therefore hypothetically gets them DOE approval sooner.

For environmental groups, the DOE has released two reports on two key issues, lifecycle emissions on drilling and LNG exports. The DOE could be releasing these to demonstrate to environmental groups that they are engaged on the emissions issue and will continue to factor it into its consideration of applications.

The APGA believe that the study of exports of LNG in the 12 – 20 billion ft3/d range appears to be aimed at groups that are concerned with exports such as themselves and AEA. Already, with conditional approval of 9.35 billion ft3/d exports to non-FTA countries and a growing amount of exports to FTA countries, DOE is rapidly approaching the 12 billion ft3/d threshold that was the high export scenarios in earlier reports, which only looked at exports of 6 – 12 billion ft3/d. APGA has said that the DOE is demonstrating that they will conduct fresh analysis before moving into such high volumes of export answering the call for the need for new analysis, at least partially as APGA and AEA have called for new analysis of the 6 – 12 billion ft3/d range as well.

Adapted from press release by Claira Lloyd. View more LNG news at

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