The Obama administration recently opened the door to a new era of U.S. energy exports, approving a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, according to a report by Reuters.
The Energy Department's approval of unrestricted natural gas exports from Freeport LNG's Quintana Island, Texas, terminal ends nearly a two-year pause in its review of export applications as the administration addressed concerns that exporting domestic natural gas could force U.S. manufacturers and consumers to pay more, the report states.
Natural gas prices had fallen in recent years due to increased U.S. production, but natural gas is far more costly in the international market, and U.S. consumers will likely see their prices increase as they compete with international buyers. Experts were already predicting higher natural gas prices later this year, and exports are expected to force prices even higher.
The exporting of U.S. natural gas supplies could increase further, depending on how the U.S. Department of Energy rules on the more than two dozen LNG export projects still awaiting approval. The Freeport terminal alone is expected to export the equivalent of about two percent of current U.S. gas production, according to Reuters.
Some 26 applications have been filed to export natural gas, but a vocal contingent led by Dow Chemical have argued that allowing unlimited exports could raise prices and hinder a resurgence in U.S. manufacturing.
Congressman Edward Markey, a prominent critic of gas exports, called the decision to allow exports from Freeport premature. "The Department of Energy still doesn't even know what the impact of natural gas exports will be on domestic businesses and consumers, but they are approving more exports anyways," Markey said.
To read the Reuters article, click here.