US approves Lake Charles group for LNG exports

By TENNILLE TRACY

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration has approved a plan by Lake Charles Exports to export US natural gas from a terminal in Louisiana, despite concerns that greater amounts of exports will result in higher natural gas prices at home.

The approval, granted Wednesday by the US Energy Department, is the third by the Obama administration. The three projects combined are allowed to ship out 5.6 billion cubic feet/day of gas.

There are more than a dozen export proposals still pending before the Energy Department. Energy companies are seeking to take advantage of a swift increase in US natural gas production and robust demand for natural gas around the world.

The wisdom of allowing natural gas exports is questioned by some US manufacturers and their allies on Capitol Hill. They say export approvals could result in higher prices at home and remove a competitive advantage enjoyed by some US companies.

The Energy Department said it is allowing Lake Charles Exports to ship up to 2 billion cubic feet/day of natural gas to countries lacking a free trade agreement with the US. The approval lasts for 20 years.

Lake Charles Exports still needs to obtain permits from another federal agency, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.


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