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US LNG – 1; Russia LNG – 0

With the threat of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the United States reaching one of Russia’s largest energy markets, Europe, Russia-owned Gazprom is seeking to push American LNG elsewhere. Luckily for the U.S., this news proves that American LNG is finally making ripples in the global energy market. Earlier this year, the first LNG exports from the lower 48 reached foreign shores – a momentous achievement for energy and foreign diplomacy. Proving that Russia no longer holds claim to its western neighbors, U.S. energy companies have continued to export the clean-burning energy to our allies that are in desperate demand for natural gas. At first, Gazprom predicted that “U.S. shale production didn’t pose a threat,” but now the company is formulating a plan to ensure its secure hold in Europe. But when asked about competition in markets from the U.S., Gazprom’s deputy chief executive, Alexander Medvedev stated “Russian gas sees no rivals.” An opinion that Medvedev obviously needs to overcome as American energy companies continue to pursue global markets through LNG exports. Even though the U.S. has been focused on meeting demands in Europe, other countries are also welcoming American LNG into their homes and businesses. Asia has one of the fastest growing demands for LNG and has promised to purchase our natural gas from Pacific ports. Additionally, Mexico’s demand for natural gas has peaked interests amongst energy companies based in Texas. So much so that Enterprise Products Partners LP, Spectra Energy Corp., Sempra Energy and TransCanada Corp. are all involved in freeing up the U.S. supply glut through multibillion dollar projects to bring shale gas to America’s southern neighbor. The fact that Gazprom, Russia’s largest natural gas company, is nervous about the effects of U.S. LNG on their markets is a win. The energy source is barely beginning to trickle into foreign markets and already the ripple effects are being felt. As it good as this is for the U.S. and our foreign allies, the reality for Gazprom is that U.S. LNG is here to...

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40 More Reasons for LNG Exports

In a recent piece The Denver Post editorial board threw its support behind the Oregon-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports project, Jordan Cove, after new information from the U.S. Geological Survey revealed there is a lot more natural gas under Colorado than previously thought – 40 times more to be exact. The Denver Post not only argues that market demand proves a need for LNG, but also that natural gas exports would bring economic and environmental benefits to Colorado and other western states. Since the shale boom swept the United States, Colorado has benefited from exponential economic growth. Job numbers have improved, businesses have grown, and investments have poured into local communities. However, as The Denver Post points out, Colorado’s residents “sometimes get a distorted picture of the state’s economic health.” Some areas, like Northwest Colorado, are suffering from the reduction of natural gas production and could desperately use an economic boost – something that the Jordan Cove could provide by fostering economic stability through export markets. Small businesses, which make up 97.6 percent of Colorado’s economy, also could use the support of new investment opportunities.  In The Business Times, chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council Ray Keating pointed out that a majority of American companies that invest and innovate in the energy sector are actually small businesses. In fact from a November 2014 SBEC study, the role of small businesses in key Colorado energy sectors is clear: 87 percent of small businesses are in the oil and gas extraction sector; 83 percent of small businesses are in the oil and gas operations support sector; 73 percent of small businesses are in the oil and gas pipeline and related structures construction industry. New opportunities, like Jordan Cove, to export Colorado’s natural gas would ultimately be beneficial to Colorado. And the LNG facility would spur natural gas movement west via the Ruby Pipeline, allowing other western states to tap into the clean burning energy source as an alternative to coal. Although The Denver Post is correct in wanting to push the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to overturn its initial decision on Jordan Cove, the key to ensuring a clear and timely decision is to have barriers removed by Congress, language that is currently outlined in two comprehensive energy packages. LNG export projects are ideal to ensuring the continued expansion of U.S. energy into the global energy market. But without the cooperation of FERC and the help of Congress, states like Colorado won’t have an opportunity to spur much-needed economic...

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1,000 Days Later…

Due to our nation’s supply glut of natural gas, energy companies have been looking beyond our borders to foreign ports where demand for clean-burning natural gas is continuingly increasing. Realizing this opportunity, Kinder Morgan submitted an application in high hopes to turn their liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal at Elba Island into an export terminal to reach customers in Europe and Asia. Yet, their application status remained pending for years as a result of red tape in Washington while projects in other countries, like Australia, came online and dictated the LNG market. Fortunately, the longest pending application finally received approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) earlier this week after waiting more than 1,000 days for consent. This stamp of approval marks a big step forward in U.S. energy exports. Located at Elba Island, about five miles south of Savannah, the $2 billion project is scheduled to build 10 gas liquefaction units to ready gas for export by 2018. “The Elba Liquefaction Project stands to be a positive factor in the overall balance of trade between the U.S. and other countries, as well as generate significant local and state benefits for the Savannah area and Georgia,” Richard Wheatley of Kinder Morgan said. However, unless approved by the Department of Energy, exports are still only limited to countries which the United States has a free-trade agreement with, like Canada and Mexico, creating yet another legal hurdle for energy. And without this consent from the DOE, American energy companies will not be able to satisfy the multitude of needs across the globe, hindering opportunities for U.S. energy at home and abroad. Yet, momentum for mobilizing increased U.S. LNG exports is gaining traction on Capitol Hill with the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives reviewing their respective energy bills that include language expediting the FERC and DOE approval process for LNG applications. With the clock ticking before Congress breaks for its month-long recess in August, all eyes will continue to focus on the energy legislation and its promise to streamline the LNG exports review process. Hopefully, the chambers can set aside party bickering and prioritize the best interests of one of America’s most competitive industries....

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