It’s no longer a question of whether the US will export domestically produced gas, but rather of who will be first to do it. The current front-runner is Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG import terminal in Louisiana, which is expecting final approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by the beginning of next year to begin construction of its $6 billion liquefaction project.
BG has booked all of Lake Charles capacity out to 2030 and this month received DOE approval to export US gas to countries aligned with World Trade Organization rules. No investment decision on any export plan for Lake Charles has been made, but the terminal should be well-placed when the time comes, given BGs production portfolio and already established downstream market, notes Kelly Bennett of US gas analyst Bentek Energy. BG won’t have to go out and buy supply if [it doesn't] want to necessarily, Bennett says, whereas companies such as Cheniere will need to firm up agreements with suppliers.
Developers of import terminals on the Pacific coast in Oregon who are also now eyeing exports look the least likely to make progress with their plans. In theory, they have in their favor proximity to high-priced Asian markets and access to shale gas supply from Canada and the Northwest Rockies. But against this stands the states development unfriendly reputation, Bentek’s Bennett says, noting that Oregon is a tough sell even for an LNG import terminal, with local governments and activist groups succeeding in scuttling a series of import terminal proposals.
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