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NAM: “Trust but Verify” DOE LNG Promises to Europe

The U.S. will continue to deliver liquefied natural gas to Europe despite a Biden administration–imposed ban on export permits, a senior Department of Energy official said late last week (POLITICO Pro, subscription).

What’s going on: The permit freeze on pending and future LNG projects, announced in January, “doesn’t impact any of the LNG currently being exported,” U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk told the news outlet recently in a “reassurance to anxious European officials.”

  • Turk continued, “It also doesn’t impact any of the current construction going on to export even more LNG.”
  • The U.S. exports about 14 billion cubic feet of LNG every day and “has already earmarked up to 48 billion cubic feet for export from future projects—roughly half of its domestic production of natural gas.”

Why it’s important: Europe has become increasingly reliant on U.S. LNG since the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which previously supplied much of the energy source to the continent.

  • In fact, U.S. LNG now “make[s] up half of the bloc’s LNG supplies—up from about a quarter before the war.”
  • In addition to jeopardizing security progress and U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, the permitting pause threatens environmental strides that have been made. U.S. LNG is significantly cleaner than Russian LNG, contributing 40% less global warming potential across 20 years, according to the DOE’s own findings.

The NAM says: “Our allies are rattled by [the DOE]’s freeze on new LNG export permits,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said in a social post yesterday. “We need more than just assurances. This harmful policy undermines certainty for Europe and should be lifted immediately. As President Reagan said, ‘Trust but verify.’”

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