Consumer and environmental groups are also dead-set against the export of LNG, which converts natural gas into liquid form through a rapid chilling process for easier transport. The chemical industry has voiced dissent because it depends on cheap natural gas to produce fertilizers and feed stock.
This domestic push-back is slowing the approval process, while other countries are ramping up production to natural gas-hungry customers like Japan, which is trying to compensate for the loss of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011.
As a result, only one U.S. terminal has been given the go-ahead. A dozen-plus others are on hold, any regulatory action delayed until an Energy Department study on the economic impact is completed later this the year.
Cheniere Energywas the lucky one to win federal approval to build the first liquefied natural gas export terminal in decades. The Blackstone Group will supply some $2 billion in financing. When complete in 2015, the Sabine Pass, La., facility will be capable of exporting about three percent of the total U.S. supply.
Cheniere and the seven other energy companies behind the 14 stalled permits for facilities — in states as far-flung as Georgia, Maine and Oregon — all want to export to Japan, Spain and other non-free trade countries, those that have not eliminated trade tariffs and quotas.Page 2 of 4 | Prev Page | Next Page