DOE Proposes to Amend Procedures for LNG Export Application Review
On Thursday, May 29, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy proposed to amend the agency’s review process for applications to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that are not party to a free-trade-agreement with the U.S. The Department plans to eliminate its current practice of issuing conditional approval for applications before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) completes an environmental analysis for construction of proposed export facilities. According to DOE, the proposal reflects “changing market dynamics,” and will prioritize agency resources on “the more commercially advanced projects, while also providing the Department with more complete information when applications are considered and public interest determinations are made.”
At the same time, the Environmental Information Agency (EIA) will publish an updated economic impact study to “to gain a better understanding of how potential U.S. LNG exports between 12 and 20 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) could affect the public interest.” This update will amend the 2012 EIA-produced study, as that document only examined the export case of between 6 and 12 Bcf/d in exports. And after the EIA publishes its case study, the Department will conduct an external analysis of the macroeconomic impact of the new 12 to 20 billion cubic feet per day case, and examine additional impacts that LNG exports might pose to the U.S., including national security and other strategic interests. The latter macro-economic analysis will update a document that has served as DOE’s empirical foundation for conditionally approving LNG applications over the past two years. DOE will continue reviewing and acting on existing, pending export applications while the new studies are underway.
White House Publishes “All-of-the-Above” Energy Strategy Document
On Thursday, May 29, the White House published a report titled “The All-of-the-Above Energy Strategy as a Path to Sustainable Economic Growth.” In essence, the report lays out a three-part strategy that the White House and Administration will deploy over the next 2.5 years to govern U.S. energy policy in lieu of congressional action to the contrary. The three elements of the strategy are: “to support economic growth and job creation, to enhance energy security, and to deploy low-carbon energy technologies and lay the foundation for a clean energy future.” The report concludes that the “all-of-the above” strategy will support the transformation of the domestic energy sector that the White House describes as “historic,” by embracing natural gas as a transitional fuel to a low carbon energy marketplace while ensuring that natural gas is responsibly developed.