US senators unveil bill to allow LNG exports to NATO allies, Japan
Washington (Platts)--31Jan2013/458 pm EST/2158 GMT
A bipartisan group of US lawmakers on Thursday introduced a bill that
would allow liquefied natural gas exports to North Atlantic Treaty
Organization members, Japan and other countries.
"I support LNG exports to countries whether or not they have a free
trade agreement with the United States," said Senator John Barrasso,
Republican-Wyoming, one of the sponsors of the bill.
"Our bill will also promote the energy security of key US allies by
helping reduce their dependence on oil and gas from countries such as Russia
and Iran," Barrasso added.
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Under current law, the US Department of Energy must quickly approve US
LNG exports to countries that have free trade agreements with the US.
However, DOE can limit or block exports to non-FTA countries if they are not
in the public interest.
So far, only Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana has won
approval to export LNG to both FTA and non-FTA countries.
Japan, one of the world's most prolific LNG importers, is not an FTA
nation, but it has urged US officials to allow LNG exports in the wake of the
Fukushima earthquake that shut down the nation's nuclear energy supplies.
The bill introduced Thursday would require DOE to approve gas exports to
NATO members and Japan. The legislation would also require DOE to approve gas
exports to any other country if the Secretary of State, in consultation with
the Secretary of Defense, finds that exports to that country would promote
the national security interests of the US, the sponsors said.
"The US and Alaska have plenty of natural gas to sell to Japan and our
NATO allies, and I can't think of a better place to sell it than to our
strategic and economic partners," said Senator Mark Begich, Democrat-Alaska,
another sponsor of the bill.
The other senators that backed the bill are Jim Inhofe,
Republican-Oklahoma; Tom Coburn, Republican-Oklahoma; John Cornyn,
Republican-Texas; Mike Enzi, Republican-Wyoming; Heidi Heitkamp,
Democrat-North Dakota; John Hoeven, Republican-North Dakota; Ron Johnson,
Republican-Wisconsin; Mike Lee, Republican-Utah; and David Vitter,
--Kate Winston, email@example.com
--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, firstname.lastname@example.org