U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today welcomed the Department of Energy's approval of a license to Freeport LNG to expand its liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from its Texas facility to nations not party to U.S. free trade agreements:
"I hope today's approval represents a willingness by DOE to continue to process export applications in a timely fashion. Our nation has an historic opportunity to join a developing global gas trade, but we face a narrowing window. There are LNG export projects under construction around the world that are competing for market share with American gas supplies. The administration cannot drag its feet on export decisions or we may miss this opportunity for America's natural gas to play a major role in the growing global market.
"We know that exports of natural gas are already boosting the U.S. economy, creating jobs, and lowering our deficits across the board. While I welcome the decision, this approval refers to a relatively simple expansion of capacity at a facility that has already received authorization to export."
The Freeport LNG project received its first authorization to export natural gas to non-FTA countries in May 2013. That application was filed in December 2010, and took more than two years to process.
The approval today refers to a proposal, filed in December 2011, to double the facility's previously authorized 1.4 billion cubic feet per day. Citing the project's total capacity of 1.8 billion cubic feet per day, DOE authorized an increase of only 0.4 billion cubic feet per day.
In August, Murkowski, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, released a white paper outlining her support for exporting LNG to non-free trade agreement countries. The paper builds on the policy recommendations Murkowski made earlier this year in her energy blueprint -- Energy 20/20: A Vision for America's Energy Future.