March 26, 2021
Yesterday, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) joined Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), John Kennedy (R-La.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) in introducing the Natural Gas Export Expansion Act, which eliminates onerous regulations that discourage liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade and increases LNG exports to the over 160 countries in the World Trade Organization (WTO). This legislation offers an effective vehicle to fortify our nation’s energy security, reduce emissions at home and abroad, and strengthen America’s strategic and economic relationship with our overseas partners.
Sen. Inhofe said:
“Over the past four years, we developed true energy independence. America leads the world in natural gas production and we ought to export more of our clean, affordable gas to more friendly nations around the world. I am proud to introduce the Natural Gas Export Expansion Act alongside Sen. Cruz which would make that happen.”
Sen. Cruz said:
“The United States is reaping the rewards of the American energy renaissance by leading the world as the top petroleum and natural gas producer, and net exporter of natural gas. Where energy independence was once considered a distant utopia, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have revolutionized the oil and gas industry.
“Thanks to the United States’ development and use of natural gas, America leads the world in reducing carbon emissions. While many choose to protest and ignore the critical role of natural gas in our energy future, Congress must do its part to continue advancing America’s energy renaissance. Increasing LNG exports will not only continue to lower energy costs for families and businesses but also increase America’s energy security.”
Sen. Capito said:
“It’s critical we continue to look for ways to grow West Virginia’s energy industry. This legislation would expand international markets for natural gas produced in West Virginia and support American foreign policy by reducing international dependence on hostile sources of energy like Russia and Iran.”
Sen. Kennedy said:
“LNG exports sustain Louisiana jobs, promote America’s energy independence and reduce global emissions. We should make it easier, not harder, to export American LNG to countries that need it. Louisiana is the nation’s number one exporter of liquefied natural gas, but we’re taking a beating at the hands of our own president. The Natural Gas Export Expansion Act would combat President Biden’s war on energy jobs by reducing unnecessary restrictions on LNG export permits.”
Sen. Cramer added:
“Energy security is national security. Bolstering America’s liquefied natural gas industry would help keep Americans safe, employed, and able to keep the power on for themselves and their families, all while lowering global emissions. Our bill would eliminate burdensome regulations surrounding liquefied natural gas and allow American producers to sell their premier product around the world.”
Despite the pandemic, U.S. LNG exports reached all-time highs in November and December 2020, and the U.S. remains a net exporter of natural gas. U.S. LNG was exported to 38 countries, also a record.
Historically, the review process for an application to export LNG to non-FTA countries can take years. For example, a Texas company that filed its initial application in October 2012 did not receive Department of Energy approval to export LNG to non-FTA countries until April 2017 - nearly five years later. While the previous administration greatly reduced the processing time for non-FTA permits, Congress must provide greater certainty and help ensure that the review process is not arbitrarily again lengthened.
Importantly, the U.S. has one of the lowest flaring intensity levels in the world and methane emissions from U.S. natural gas production have decreased nearly 25 percent since 1990—all while natural gas production grew more than 70 percent.
A 2019 Department of Energy report conducted by the National Energy Technology Lab concluded that U.S. LNG exports resulted in reduced emissions abroad.
Specifically, the Natural Gas Export Expansion Act:
• Amends the Natural Gas Act to expedite non-FTA export permits. By doing so, applications to export LNG to certain non-Free Trade Agreement countries are treated the same as free trade countries and “deemed to be consistent with the public interest.”
• Retains current law for restricted nations. Any nation subject to sanctions or trade restrictions is specifically excluded, and the President or Congress can specifically exclude any nation from expedited approval.
Read the full text of the Natural Gas Export Expansion Act here.