Liquefied natural gas exports
The Obama administration has continually delayed approval of more natural gas exports and export terminals, drawing the ire of Republicans who charge that this hurts economic growth and job creation.
Democrats argue that exporting will raise prices and hurt consumers.
“Exporting natural gas will do one thing: raise prices,” writes Democratic Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts. “But if that happens, natural gas consumers will be exposed to higher prices and greater market volatility — in much the same way that the global oil market routinely rips off consumers at the pump.”
The Energy Information Administration predicts that natural gas price will rise, even without considering exports. With exports, the EIA predicts that rapidly increasing LNG export levels would lead to “large initial price increases that would moderate somewhat in a few years.” Slowly increasing LNG export levels will lead to more gradual price increases, but the end result will be higher average fuel prices after that, in particularly between 2025 and 2035.
Exporting more natural gas has drawn the ire of major producers like Russia. Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas company, has called the U.S. natural gas boom “unsustainable.” They even paid a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm to lobby to get the U.S. to import Russian natural gas and to collect data to promote Gazprom interests.
“Today, U.S. companies are now working in China and Europe to help those countries develop shale gas, which could also help the U.S. achieve strategic geopolitical goals,” writes the National Journal’s Coral Davenport. “Russia, the chief supplier of natural gas to Europe, has long wielded that resource as a power lever.”
It’s even been suggested that Russia is a major player behind the anti-fracking movement in the U.S., as they stand to lose the most if more exports drop worldwide natural gas prices and Gazprom customers in Europe and Asia switch to U.S. produced gas.
“Where does the money come from to organize such [anti-fracking] demonstrations and brochure writing?” said Aviezer Tucker, the assistant director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas. “All that seems to point to a common source, which would be Moscow.”