US DOE Urged to Halt LNG Export Approvals to NFTA Countries

The US Department of Energy has been asked to issue a moratorium on liquefied natural gas (LNG) export approvals to non-free trade agreement (NFTA) countries.

Large manufacturing consumers of natural gas, natural gas feedstock, and natural gas-fired electricity generation, have expressed their concerns at the volume of LNG exports that have been approved for periods of 20-30 years, saying that demand scenarios demonstrate that 58-71 percent of all US technically recoverable natural gas resources “could be consumed by 2050”.

The Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) presented two scenarios on natural gas consumption.

Scenario I assumes the EIA AEO 2017 cumulative net demand for natural gas, which includes exports of LNG and shipments to Mexico, and compares it to the EIA technically recoverable US natural gas resources in the lower 48. The AEO 2017 forecast includes LNG exports rising to 12.1 Bcf/d by 2035. This scenario illustrates that with only 12.1 Bcf/d of LNG exports, 58 percent of all US technically recoverable natural gas resources are consumed by 2050, only 33 years.

Scenario II uses the same assumptions as Scenario I, but includes the volume of LNG export applications equal to 54 Bcf/d that the DOE has already approved. Using EIA’s annual average forecasted increases in LNG exports from 2016 to 2020 of 1.58 Bcf/d and using this same growth rate for the years beyond 2020 until LNG export volumes reach 54 Bcf/d, 71 percent of US technically recoverable resources are consumed by 2050.

“We are aware that just recently the Potential Gas Committee released an updated assessment of US natural gas resources which increased its estimates by 300 Tcf,” Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) said.

However, IECA added that, even with this nongovernmental assessment, the facts “are troubling and as stated earlier give justification to halt further approvals for shipments to NFTA countries.”

IECA urged the US Department of Energy to review the Obama Administration’s DOE studies on the economic impacts of LNG exports “that are being used to justify further export application approvals.”

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