Years likely needed for U.S. LNG exports to blunt Russia energy sales
U.S. efforts to speed natural gas exports as a way to loosen Russia's grip on European energy supplies may be thwarted by lengthy reviews and developer reluctance to proceed with multibillion-dollar projects, Bloomberg reports. Russia's military escalation in Ukraine is spurring calls in Congress for quick U.S. approval of plans to export liquefied natural gas from plants owned by companies including Cheniere Energy Inc., Dominion Resources Inc. and Sempra Energy. Russia provides 30% of Europe's gas needs using pipelines that cross Ukraine. While the shale-gas boom has made the U.S. the world's largest natural gas producer, efforts to ship the fuel are bogged down by rules, financing needs and construction demands. Winning U.S. approval can take three years or longer, and not all companies planning a project are committed to completing the work. Only one facility—Cheniere's $10 billion Sabine Pass terminal in Cameron Parish—has the required approvals from the Energy Department and U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Shipments are scheduled to start in late 2015, according to the company. "We only have one approved license actually, and the molecules still aren't going to flow for a while," Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told reporters earlier this week at a major energy conference in Houston. After the Cheniere license, the most optimistic view for the next set of LNG shipments to leave the U.S. isn't until 2017 or 2018, according to Moniz. "So, there's still quite a ways to go," he says. Read the full story. Today, Congressman Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, says he's co-sponsored legislation to accelerate the approval process for LNG exports to our allies, which would likely include Ukraine. "This would help to relieve nations that are potentially dependent on Russian fuel supplies by providing them with U.S. oil and gas," reads a press release from Cassidy's office.
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