In an effort to help Europe deal with the energy crunch worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. Energy Department authorized on Wednesday additional exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass, Louisiana, and Corpus Christi, Texas, terminals.
Expanding the export destinations’ scope the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has authorized last October, the new approvals allow the terminals flexibility to export the equivalent of 0.72 billion cubic feet per day (bcfpd) of LNG to any country with which the United States does not have a free trade agreement, including all of Europe.
The Energy Department (DOE) said that every operating LNG export project in the US now has the approval to export its full capacity to any country where not prohibited by US law or policy.
Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration was discussing contingency plans with LNG exporting countries and companies on keeping the fuel flowing to Europe, which was buying 30% to 40% of its gas – which totaled about 18 bcfpd in 2021- from Russia.
As tensions rose over the massing of troops on Ukraine’s borders by Russia, the US and the EU pledged to work on ensuring gas supplies can respond to disruptions in pipeline gas flows.
As the energy crunch Europe faced got exacerbated, the US lawmakers and energy industry trade groups have called on the Biden administration to ramp up natural gas and oil exports to allies.
However, concerns were raised about the impact on climate change of projects that could last decades, slowing down White House efforts to boost US LNG exports.
However, the DOE said that with the expected rise in exports, the US is particularly focused on driving down methane emissions in the oil and gas sector – both domestically and abroad- since LNG is an important component of global energy security.