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Rubio, Cassidy, Colleagues Reintroduce Legislation to Expedite Small-Scale LNG Exports
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), John Kennedy (R-LA), Rick Scott (R-FL), and James Inhofe (R-OK) reintroduced the Small Scale LNG Access Act, legislation expediting the approval of natural gas exports equal to or less than 51.1 billion cubic feet per year. These small-scale exports would be deemed consistent with the public interest and granted without modification or delay.
In 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) finalized a rule to expedite the approval of small-scale exports of natural gas. This rule will primarily service consumers in small-scale natural gas export markets in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. The legislation introduced by Rubio, Cassidy, and Kennedy would codify the DOE’s rule and ensure long-term stability for investment.
“Expediting approval of small-scale natural gas exports would strengthen an emerging sector of Florida’s economy and bolster our existing ties with Caribbean and Latin American nations,” Rubio said. “Importantly, the bill would also ensure that bad actors, including the criminal regimes in Venezuela and Cuba, do not benefit from expedited access to American energy exports while they continue to undermine democracy and commit human rights atrocities.”
“The United States cannot continue to cede energy production to countries like Russia and Iran,” Cassidy said. “Producing cleaner burning natural gas here in the U.S. creates American jobs and exporting it abroad decreases global emissions. This bill benefits Louisiana workers, unleashes our energy dominance, and improves our environment.”
For a full list of quotes from cosponsors, click here.
Rubio and Cassidy first introduced this legislation in 2017 and reintroduced it in 2019. The legislation was passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee both congresses.
The Caribbean small-scale LNG export market represents a relatively untapped outlet; the United States only exported approximately 7.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas to the region in 2018.
Increasing exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) will decrease Caribbean and Central American reliance on Venezuelan fuel oil, increase economic opportunities, and offer a cleaner-burning fuel source for those nations.
The United States is well positioned to meet the anticipated four to five percent annual growth in global natural gas demand. According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. has an estimated 2,462 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas, enough to last an estimated 90 years at 2016 consumption rates.
The current permitting process for LNG export facilities is expensive, and small-scale projects often are not cost effective under current conditions. Reducing the time and investment required for small-scale exports will benefit U.S. production, manufacturing, and construction jobs while also reducing trade deficits with the importing country. Increasing LNG exports, even on a small scale, will positively impact the economies of the United States as well as the economies of those receiving U.S. natural gas.