US DOE may limit non-FTA LNG exports to 6-7.4 Bcf/d: ClearView
Washington (Platts)--17Sep2012/213 pm EDT/1813 GMT
The US Department of Energy may limit US liquefied natural gas exports
to countries without reciprocal trade agreements to 6-7.4 Bcf/d, putting four
proposed projects in the lead to be built, according to a report from
ClearView Energy Partners released Monday.
"Absent any other policy articulation by the DOE to the contrary, we
assume that the 'cut off' of acceptable projects will depend on who can get
to the market the fastest," the report said.
The projects at the top of the list could be Freeport's Quintana Island
terminal in Texas, Cheniere Energy's Corpus Christi project in Texas,
Sempra's Cameron terminal in Louisiana and Jordan Cove's Coos Bay project in
Oregon, the report said.
While DOE must quickly approve LNG exports to countries with free trade
agreements with US, it has only authorized one terminal, Cheniere's Sabine
Pass terminal in Louisiana, to ship LNG to non-FTA countries as well.
DOE plans to delay additional non-FTA approvals until it has completed
two studies on the domestic impacts of LNG exports.
The first study, conducted by the Energy Information Administration,
concluded that exports would increase gas prices. The release of the second
study, which will look at macroeconomic impacts, could be stalled until after
November's presidential and congressional elections, the report said.
However, there are suggestions that DOE will seek to limit non-FTA
exports to protect US interests, ClearView said. The first study looked at
the impact of two different export volumes -- 6 Bcf/d and 12 Bcf/d -- and
these numbers could be significant, the report said.
"Some sources peripheral to the process have hinted that the lower-bound
EIA price case was not arbitrary, implying a 6 Bcf/d limit. Another source
has suggested that an upper-bound of no more than 10% of production could be
under consideration," the report said.
"If both rumors are true, then the 6 Bcf/d limit and the 10% ratio
together would imply a range of between 6 Bcf/d and about 7.4 Bcf/d," the
If this is the case, then it would become a race between the 16 export
project proposed thus far to see which can win permits the fastest, ClearView
said. And the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees the
construction and operation of LNG facilities, may be a key gate keeper, it
"At present (and subject to change as time progresses), the current FERC
queuing suggests to us that Freeport's Quintana Island, Cheniere's Corpus
Christi, Sempra's Cameron and Jordan Cove's Coos Bay projects are in a foot
race to get in beneath a notional limit of 6-7.4 Bcf/d of LNG exports," the
But projects like Coos Bay in Oregon could face an uphill battle at the
state level, due to local and environmental opposition, ClearView said,
adding: "We believe that export projects planned for the East or West [US]
coasts face more difficult permitting processes at the state level than those
on the Gulf Coast."
--Kate Winston, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, email@example.com