US LNG Exports: March Madness and the Road to the Final Four Projects
For basketball fans, nothing is better than March Madness where sixty-four college basketball teams line up with a shot to win it all after a series of games played throughout the month of March. As the NCAA tournament progresses, the field is eventually split into four groups of 16 teams known as the “Sweet 16”, and then the “Elite Eight,” and next the prestigious “Final Four.” The two winners of the Final Four meet up for the Championship game, which this year will be played on April 8, 2013.
But the biggest key to the tremendous popularity of the NCAA tournament is the March Madness Bracket – the grid of all the teams in the tournament and the path they have to follow to the Final Four and the Championship game. Almost every office, school or other workplace has some sort of pool where people fill out a bracket and throw in a few dollars for a chance to win the big pot.
In the spirit of March Madness, and perhaps to capture the attention of the Obama Whitehouse which reportedly is full of basketball fans, including President Obama himself, the first ever US LNG Export Bracket has been created. Whether it was foresight, luck or chance, the US DOE established an order of review procedure that resulted in 16 projects being up for review first – the Sweet 16.
The bracket shows the path I’ve picked for the projects based on a number of factors. As with the real March Madness NCAA tournament, there are bound to be upsets and surprises. One of those surprises could well be the initiation of a “Rulemaking” which is a procedure that would require the DOE to develop specific policies and procedures regarding the approval of additional export projects. Whether this happens before the DOE approves any additional projects remains to be seen. In the meantime, here are my picks for the Final Four export projects as well as the two final winners (along with a wildcard pick)!
Susan L. Sakmar is a Visiting Assistant Professor, Energy Law Scholar at the University of Houston Law Center where she teaches a course on global gas markets, including shale gas and LNG. She is also the author of the forthcoming book “Energy for the 21st Century: Opportunities and Challenges for LNG,” available at http://www.e-elgar.co.uk/bookentry_main.lasso?id=14131.