14 June 2013, News Wires – US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said on Thursday he hopes to “expeditiously” begin evaluating the more than a dozen applications waiting for approval to export US natural gas, according to a report.
The Energy Department ended its two-year freeze in reviewing LNG export applications in May, when it approved gas exports to all countries from Freeport LNG’s terminal in Texas, Reuters reported.
Shortly after the Freeport approval Moniz, who was sworn in on 21 May, said he would undertake a thorough review of the gas export review process, promising to ensure that current data was being used to make these decisions.
Speaking at his first appearance at a Congressional panel since his swearing-in, Moniz told lawmakers at a House Energy and Commerce committee hearing Thursday that the review should be wrapping up soon.
“We’re getting ready to begin evaluating the dockets on a case-by-case basis,” Moniz said according to the news wire.
Asked whether there would be further decisions on export applications this year, Moniz said “absolutely,” but did not give a more specific time frame.
Gas exports to all but a handful of countries with free trade agreements currently require authorisation from the Energy Department.
Companies have lined up to export excess gas produced from the nation’s shale boom.
The gas can fetch higher prices abroad, and is keenly sought by India and Japan, among others. Backers of proposed export projects include Dominion, Sempra, BG Group and Veresen.
Some lawmakers and a group of manufacturers led by Dow Chemical, have called on the department to be cautious in its approach to exports, arguing that unfettered exports could harm the US economy by raising the price of gas at home.