Moniz Answers LNG Questions

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday (April 3) ostensibly to address the President’s F.Y. 2015 DOE Budget Request, but ended up answering questions about the LNG export licensing program.

During the hearing, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) said that he had reviewed the licenses that DOE had issued (for export of LNG to nations lacking free trade agreements with the United States) and found that they contain almost verbatim language. “If you found public interest for one of these projects, why couldn’t [you] just stamp them all approved and get on with it?” Barton asked.

Moniz responded that the latest application approved by the Department—for the Jordan Cove project in Coos Bay, Oregon—contained “much different language” on the geopolitical landscape than did the first six, (an apparent reference to the situation in Ukraine).

Moniz also said that, “we have approved [licenses totaling 9.77 billion cubic feet per day and that] puts us at the top of the export business… on par with Qatar… and this is not a small amount.” E&E Daily concluded its report on the hearing quoting Moniz as follows:

“Does Congress [really] want to remove the public determination [as the pending bills would do]? As you know, there will be quite a few opposed to doing that because of the effect on domestic markets,” especially manufacturers and possible disruptions to the U.S. economy, he said. “To be honest, almost no one I have spoken with has said we should not export LNG. It is all a question of what does it mean to export huge amounts of it?” he said. “That is what we have to balance.”