​Another LNG approval adds to the growing list of U.S. export capacity in the works

Image: Golden Pass LNG

Under President Trump, the U.S. may become the energy superpower that Canada’s former Prime Minister Stephen Harper aspired to make of his own country.

Golden Pass LNG on the Texas Gulf Coast is yet another LNG terminal under development which, this week, was approved by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to export up to 2.21 bcf/d of LNG to non-free trade agreement (FTA) countries.

“This announcement is another example of President Trump’s leadership in making the United States an energy dominant force,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said in a statement.

“This is not only good for our economy and American jobs but also assists other countries with their energy security.”

The Golden Pass approval brings the total of non-FTA exports authorized by the DOE to 19.2 bcf/d.

The DOE says that macroeconomic studies have shown positive benefits to the U.S. economy in scenarios with LNG exports up to 28 bcf/d.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Short Term Energy Outlook, average dry natural gas production rate in the U.S. is expected to reach 73.1 bcf/d in 2017, the second-highest on record.

Non-FTA export authorizations are mostly a formality for U.S. LNG applicants who receive authorization to export to FTA countries. This approval provides additional market options for U.S. LNG. FTA and non-FTA volumes are typically not additive.

Golden Pass was previously authorized by DOE’s Department of Fossil Energy for 2.03 Bcf/d of LNG exports to FTA countries.

Including Golden Pass, the DOE has now issued 25 authorizations for export to non-FTA countries totalling 7.01 Tcf of natural gas per year.

Golden Pass LNG was originally conceived as an import terminal in 2009. Adding export capabilities to its existing import capability in Sabine Pass, Texas provides its owners—affiliates of Qatar Petroleum (70 per cent) and ExxonMobil (30 per cent)—the flexibility to import and export natural gas in response to market conditions.

The project’s total anticipated export capacity will be 15.6 million tons of LNG per year, across a total of three liquefaction process trains.

"As numerous studies have demonstrated, including one by the Department of Energy from 2015, increased LNG exports will result in overall economic benefits to the United States upwards of $20 billion in average annual GDP growth through 2040,” the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas’ executive director Charlie Riedl said in response to the Golden Pass export authorization.

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