Feds urged to speed up liquefied gas exports

More than a dozen members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., and a Utah Democrat, have asked Energy Secretary Steven Chu to clear the way for more opportunities to export liquefied natural gas.

An Energy Department economic study of the effect of those exports isn’t due to be complete until after the election, and the congressmen said that would take too long when overseas markets are clamoring for natural gas.

“We strongly urge you to avoid any delays in the approval process for pending projects” and “renewed urgency” in completing the study, the representatives said.

Other signers of the letter include Colorado Republicans Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman, Colorado Democrat Ed Permutter, Utah Democrat Jim Matheson, Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz and Wyoming Republican Cynthia Lummis.

“America’s energy future has changed significantly in the last five years, presenting huge economic opportunities we could not have imagined a decade ago,” the congressmen said in the letter to Chu.

“Creating more opportunities to sell natural gas into global markets and access overseas customers could help the goals of increasing natural gas use and smooth out historical boom-bust cycles,” the letter said.

“Thanks to emerging western Colorado shale gas, the West Slope likely has more natural gas in our backyard than we could have imagined just five years ago,” said David Ludlum, executive director of the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association. With the advocacy of Tipton and others, “We hope to sell locally produced natural gas products not only here, but around the world,” he said.

Exports also would contribute to a “better price environment,” especially for natural gas from the Piceance Basin, Ludlam said.

The Energy Department approved an export terminal for liquefied natural gas at Sabine Pass in Louisiana after the requests of representatives of areas overlaying the Marcellus and Utica shales in Ohio, Pennsylvania and the Northeast, the representatives from the Western states noted.


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