On June 2nd, Energy Secretary Moniz said a DOE economic study was coming “quite soon” on how LNG exports in the range of 12 billion to 20 billion cubic feet per day would impact the U.S. gas market. The Secretary also noted that the U.S. isn’t anywhere near that level of exports and that DOE had so far approved exports of about 8.5 Bcf/day to non-free trade agreement nations. Andrew Walker, Vice President of Global LNG at BG, was quoted saying he expected the market to continue to expand rapidly over the next several years as projects in the U.S. and other gas-producing countries such as Australia begin to come on line. He also said U.S. LNG exports will have an increasingly large impact on worldwide prices and Europe will help balance the market between gas suppliers and demand centers.
Federal regulators at DOE, who are charged with examining threats to the “public interest” from LNG exports, have closely watched the total level of permitted exports and commissioned research on how particular export levels might affect U.S. markets and consumers. A study of exports in the range of 6 to 12 Bcf/day found generally positive effects, and the department is expected to release a follow-up study soon on exports ranging up to 20 Bcf/day. Companies seeking to increase their LNG export levels must get approval from both FERC and DOE.