Just as the U.S. is preparing to crank up sales of its vast natural-gas supplies abroad, the global market is being reshaped by Japan--which is suddenly retreating from nuclear power after last year's earthquake," wrote the Wall Street Journal. "The island nation produces less than 4% of the gas it consumes and must import the rest by ship."
It isn't just Japan, according to the Journal. "Nations in Europe and Asia are looking to expand gas imports as well, in some cases because of a turn away from nuclear power," the paper reported. "Germany, which has said it will shut down its nuclear plants by 2022, opened a new gas pipeline from Russia in November. In Britain, where nuclear expansion plans have slowed down after Fukushima, BG Group PLC has signed a contract to import U.S. natural gas, and companies are exploring for new supplies."
U.S. companies are looking at building export terminals in at least eight locations. Cheniere Energy Inc. is furthest along with its project at Sabine Pass, La., and Cheniere agreed Jan. 30 to sell 3.5 million tons per year of gas to Korea Gas Corp.
These new markets for natural fas is good news for the Oilheat Industry, but the specter of increased U.S. exports of natural gas is a threat to U.S. consumers, according to U.S. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.). He says that the United States should stop exports of natural gas to prevent domestic prices from rising, according to a report by Reuters.
Low natural gas prices are a competitive advantage for American businesses and a relief for American families, and exporting our natural gas would eliminate our economic edge and impose new costs on consumers," Markey said in a statement.
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