WASHINGTON, September 6, 2017 - The Energy Department has proposed a rule that would provide faster approval of small-scale exports of natural gas, including liquefied natural gas. The U.S. small-scale LNG export market involves exports of small volumes of natural gas primarily to countries in the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Many of the countries in these regions do not generate enough natural gas demand to support the economies of scale required to justify large volumes of LNG imports from large-scale LNG terminals via conventional LNG tankers. The small-scale natural gas export market has developed as a solution to the practical and economic constraints limiting natural gas exports to these countries.

“The Trump administration is focused on finding ways to unleash American energy and providing a reliable and environmentally friendly fuel to our trading partners who face unique energy infrastructure challenges. The Department of Energy and this administration are wholeheartedly committed to strengthening the energy security of the United States and our allies,” said Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.

This deregulatory measure will expedite the review and approval of applications to export small amounts of natural gas in the emerging small-scale LNG export market. Under the Natural Gas Act, DOE has jurisdiction over imports and exports of natural gas to countries without a qualifying free trade agreement, and DOE must conduct a public interest review before authorizing an export.

This proposed rule provides that DOE, upon receipt of any complete application to export natural gas to non-free trade agreement countries, will grant the application provided that the application meets two criteria – the applicant proposes to export no more than 0.14 billion cubic feet per day, and the proposed export qualifies for a categorical exclusion under DOE’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations. For application meeting these criteria, the exports are considered “small-scale natural gas exports” and are deemed in the public interest under the Natural Gas Act. Exports of natural gas to free trade agreement countries are already deemed in the public interest under the act.

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