US Small-Scale LNG Export Rule to be Published July 25 [Update]
The US Department of Energy (DoE) is expected to publish July 25 its finalised rule expediting the approval of small-scale LNG exports.
According to the final rule to be published in the Federal Register on July 25, existing regulations will be revised to allow for the expedited approval of exports up to 51.75bn ft3/year, assuming approval would not trigger an environmental impact statement or environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act. The revised rules are aimed at planned exports to non-FTA countries, the rule says.
“This emerging market involves exports of small volumes of natural gas from the US to countries primarily in, but not limited to, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America,” the rule says. “The small-scale export market has developed as a solution to the practical and economic constraints limiting large-scale natural gas exports to these countries.”
Prior to the new rule, for applications to export natural gas to non-free trade agreement countries, DoE had to conduct a public interest review before authorizing such exports. The new rule now deems such applications to be in the public interest under the Natural Gas Act, the DoE said July 25. Exports of natural gas to countries with a qualifying free trade agreement are already deemed in the public interest under the act.
In contrast to large-scale LNG exports using specialised carriers, small-scale exports are typically transported shorter distances, and rely on a variety of transportation modes, including ISO LNG containers loaded onto container ships and barges.
“DoE believes that facilitating small-scale natural gas exports will allow for greater diversity and competition in the natural gas market, consistent with the public interest,” the final rule says. The new rule is to take effect August 24.
“We welcome DoE’s finalisation of the rule for expedited approval of small scale LNG exports,” Charlie Riedl, executive director of the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas, said in a July 24 statement. “Reducing hurdles, streamlining the process, and providing certainty for the US LNG industry in a globally competitive and fast-growing market is essential.”