Congress is moving quickly on a plan to accelerate government approvals for liquefied natural gas exports - a development that could cause natural gas prices to triple by 2030, according to recent published reports.
The website Fuel Fix reports that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing last week to examine the issue, just one day after the House overwhelmingly passed legislation requiring the U.S. Department of Energy to fast-track applications to export American liquefied natural gas (LNG).
A recent report by Charles River Associates states that exporting U.S. natural gas could cause natural gas prices for U.S. consumers to increase from today's price of $3.30 per 1 million BTUs to $10.30 per 1 million BTUs - an increase of more than 200 percent. At those prices, customers who have converted to gas heat would likely spend much more to heat their homes than they did while using heating oil.
Under the bipartisan Senate bill, regulators would have just 45 days to rule on any application to export natural gas once an environmental review has been concluded.
"There is broad congressional support for LNG exports, but some critics worry those foreign sales will drive up domestic gas prices," the Fuel Fix article states. "All risks associated with the export of LNG fall on the consumer," Paul Cicio, President of the Industrial Energy Consumers of America told Fuel Fix. "It will increase the price of gas and it will increase the price of electricity. When that gas goes offshore, it's gone."