ANNOUNCEMENT 06 Mar 2014In March 2014, the government of the United States of America announced a general change in export conditions.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
Legislation currently under consideration in the U.S. Congress would relax the current restrictions on the exportation of liquified natural gas (LNG) from the United Stated States. There are at least ten bills that were introduced in the House and Representatives and the Senate dealing with this issue during the first three months of 2014, inspired in part by the events in Ukraine. The issue has a high profile in Congress, but is also subject to sharp divisions along largely partisan lines. Republicans tend to support enactment, and Democrats tend to oppose it. Divisions between the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate coulod be difficult to resolve.
The principal bill is entitled the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act (H.R. 6), introduced on March 6, 2014 by 34 members of the House (all but one of whom are Republicans) and approved on April 9, 2014 by a subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Following up on the conclusions reached in a recent report by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the bill provide that all pending LNG export applications for which a notice has been published in the Federal Register as of the date of introduction be granted without delay. The legislation would also modify the standard of review for future export applications, shifting the benchmark from those countries that have free trade agreements with the United States to all members of the World Trade Organization. Under current law, LNG export facilities shipping gas to countries that do not have free trade agreements with the United States require an additional level of approval by the Department of Energy.
The House of Representatives approved H.R.6 by a vote of 266-150 on June 30, 2014. As of this writing it is under consideration in the Senate.
One of the alternative bills is the American Natural Gas Security and Consumer Protection Act sponsored by Senator Edward Markey (Democrat of Massachusetts), who chairs the subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee that has jurisdiction over international energy security. His bill would take a more restrictive approach towards the approval of gas exports.
The issue is also being handled through executive action. For example, on July 13, 2014 the Department of Energy conditionally authorized the export of LNG from the proposed Oregon LNG Terminal in Warrenton, Oregon, and on July 30, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorized the siting, construction, and operation of the Freeport LNG export project.