The Obama administration has approved natural gas exports from a third U.S. facility, rekindling the debate about whether exporting natural gas will cause U.S. consumers to pay higher prices, according to an article by Reuters.
The export terminal in Lake Charles, La., was given a conditional license from the Department of Energy to export up to 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to all countries, according to Reuters.
"I think over the next several months we will see the administration move forward with further approvals, particularly now that there is a new energy secretary in place, and the pace at which this happens could also pick up," Jason Bordoff, director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, told the news agency.
The United States has now given the green light to 5.6 billion cubic feet per day of gas exports from three projects. That represents about 8 percent of daily U.S. gas output.
Senator Ron Wyden, the Democratic chairman of the Senate energy committee and an outspoken skeptic of unlimited gas exports, promised to closely monitor the department's review process going forward. "While I am pleased to see DOE is continuing to proceed on a case-by-case basis with each new permit to send natural gas overseas, the Energy Department has a higher bar to prove these exports are in the best interests of American consumers and employers," Wyden said in a statement.
The prospect of the United States becoming a major LNG exporter has alarmed manufacturers and heavy industry, according to Reuters. They have warned that unlimited gas exports could harm their resurgent sectors by raising domestic prices.
"The question is, can production keep up with this?" Paul Cicio, president of the Industrial Energy Consumers of America, told Reuters. "It is going to be a challenge, and if they can't keep up with it, there are going to be price spikes."
To read the Reuters article, click here.