WASHINGTON Aug 7 (Reuters) – The Obama administration on
Wednesday approved natural gas exports from a third U.S.
facility as the government works through a long backlog of
projects seeking permission to send gas abroad.
The export terminal in Lake Charles, Louisiana, secured a
conditional license from the Department of Energy to ship
liquefied natural gas to all countries. The terminal is backed
by BG Group Plc and Energy Transfer Partners LP’s
Southern Union Co.
The department’s order gives the Lake Charles terminal
permission to export up to 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas a
day for 20 years. The approval is contingent upon the Lake
Charles terminal receiving a permit from the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission for construction of the facility.
The decision came nearly three months after Freeport LNG’s
Quintana Island, Texas, terminal got the go-ahead. This exceeded
the eight-week wait that an Energy Department official recently
suggested might be necessary between each of the nearly two
dozen pending applications. But it still may set the stage for a
more predictable review process going forward.
Some lawmakers and companies have complained that the
government is not moving fast enough to approve LNG exports.
Other companies, who have benefited form cheap domestic natural
gas prices, have urged caution in approving applications.
Before the Freeport project was approved on May 17, the
department had not ruled on a gas export application for nearly
two years, during which it studied the implications of allowing
significant amounts of U.S. gas to be exported.