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Liquefied Natural Gas: What to know about LNG and Biden’s decision to delay gas export proposals

by YINTOM 11 Apr 2024 0 commenti
Liquefied Natural Gas: What to know about LNG and Biden’s decision to delay gas export proposals

WASHINGTON (AP) The Biden administration said Friday it is delaying consideration of new natural gas export terminals i n the United States, even as gas shipments to Europe and Asia have soared since Russias invasion of Ukraine.

The decision by President Joe Biden, announced as the 2024 presidential election year kicks off, aligns the Democratic president with environmentalists who fear the huge increase in exports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, is locking in potentially catastrophic planet-warming emissions when Biden has pledged to cut climate pollution in half by 2030.

Industry groups and Republicans condemned the pause as a win for Russia, while environmentalists cheered it as a way to address climate change and counter Bidens approval of the huge Willow oil project in Alaska last year.

 What is LNG and why does it matter?

LNG is short for liquefied natural gas and occurs when gas is cooled to about 260° F (162° C), it becomes a liquid that can be safely stored and transported around the world on specially designed vessels by LNG shipping companies. Upon arrival, the gas is reheated to return it to a gaseous state and transported by pipeline to distribution companies, industrial consumers and power plants.

 There are natural gas suppliers in the United States, natural gas is used to heat homes and businesses, and is often produced in the United States through a technique known as fracking that has unlocked vast supplies underneath the ground. U.S. gas exports rose sharply after Russias February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, and the Biden administration has celebrated the delivery of U.S. gas to Europe and Asia as a key geopolitical weapon against Russian President Vladimir Putin, allowing U.S. allies to use gas without relying on Russia.

 Why did Biden delay consideration of LNG export terminals?

The decision is complicated because Biden has praised U.S. exports in the past. But he has faced strong criticism from environmental groups who worry about the rapid expansion of LNG exports in recent years and question Bidens commitment to phasing out fossil fuels such as oil and gas. U.S. oil production has surged since Biden took office.

 

  1. LNG capacity has doubled in recent years and is set to double again under projects already approved, the White House said. Current methods the Energy Department uses to evaluate LNG projects dont adequately account for potential cost hikes for American consumers and manufacturers or the impact of greenhouse gas emissions, officials said.

 Theres a long runway here (for LNG projects) and were taking a step back and thinking, okay, lets take a hard look before that runway continues to build out,' said White House climate adviser Ali Zaidi.

 What does Bidens action do?

The pause will allow officials to update the way the Energy Department analyzes LNG proposals to avoid export authorizations that diminish our domestic energy availability, weaken our security or undermine our economy’’ or the environment, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said.

The pause will have no immediate effect on U.S. gas supplies to Europe or Asia, she said. Seven LNG terminals are currently operating in the U.S., mostly in Louisiana and Texas, with up to five more expected to come online in the next few years. Bidens action would not affect those projects, but could delay a dozen or more LNG projects that are pending or in various stages of planning. That includes the Calcasieu Pass 2 project, or CP2, along Louisianas Gulf Coast. If built, CP2 would be the largest export terminal in the United States.

 Let me be clear. The U.S. is already the number one exporter of LNG, and we remain unwavering in our commitment to support our allies and partners around the world, Zaidi said Friday.

 If necessary, the Energy Department can allow exceptions for national security needs, he and Granholm said.

 How long will the pause last?

Granholm and other officials declined to say how long the permitting pause will last, but said officials will study how proposed LNG projects will affect the environment, the economy and national security, a process that will take some months. A public comment period after that will likely delay any decisions on pending LNG projects until after the November election.

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