US To Export Liquefied Natural Gas For First Time Ever

Andrew Follett | Energy and Science Reporter

The tanker that will carry the first shipment of American liquefied natural (LNG) gas arrived in Louisiana Tuesday, symbolizing America’s status as a major new supplier to Asia and Europe.

Exporting natural gas is likely to be a growth industry, as global demand for natural gas is expected to be 50 percent higher by 2035 than it is now, according to the International Energy Agency. American LNG exports are likely to significantly reduce energy costs in Asia and Europe.

The Obama administration opposed natural gas exports on environmental grounds before reversing position in late 2014 after the Russian occupation of Crimea. Europe was initially hesitant to rebuke Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula because of its control over natural gas pipelines. Throughout the occupation, there was real concern that Russia might leverage its control over natural gas supplies in Europe to achieve political goals.

The administration has still been slow to process permits for natural gas exports, making some projects wait up to four years, but is generally supportive of the process as American LNG exports are the only major alternative to Russian natural gas in Europe.

American natural gas is also set to flow to Japan, where natural gas prices are nearly three times higher. Japan’s appetite for gas is only going to increase, especially since the country scaled back its nuclear power plant fleet after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

The Department of Energy (DOE) gave final approval for a Palm Beach, Fla., natural gas export terminal to send U.S. LNG abroad in October.

DOE studies suggest that exporting natural gas will add to local property tax bases, create construction jobs, and improve trade relations with friendly governments. A previously approved Maryland export facility is expected to create 14,600 jobs and reduce the trade deficit by $7 billion every year.

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Tags : department of energy energy europe fukushima japan russia
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