WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), 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 Small Scale LNG Access Act would codify the DOE’s rule and ensure long-term stability for investment.
“The United States cannot continue to cede energy production to countries like Russia and Iran,” said Dr. Cassidy. “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.”
“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,” said Senator Rubio. “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.”
“Louisiana is the leading state for LNG production and export, and the Small Scale LNG Access Act would help our state continue to supply our allies with the clean energy they need. America’s economy and national security are tied to our energy independence, so we need more freedom to make the most of our energy resources. I’m proud to work with Sen. Cassidy to that end,” said Senator Kennedy.
“Reducing the burden of federal regulations will mean more good paying jobs for Florida families in the emerging industry of small scale natural gas exports. Anything we can do to make LNG more accessible and cost-effective to our partners throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and decrease their reliance on Maduro and Venezuelan oil is good for the United States,” said Senator Scott.
“We must do everything we can to unleash American energy development, especially as the current administration does the opposite,” said Senator Inhofe. “That’s why I am proud to join Sen. Cassidy and my other Republican colleagues in introducing the Small Scale LNG Access Act to ensure the expedited, streamlined approval of small-scale LNG exports. This would be a boon to American jobs and provide long-term stability for suppliers here at home, while also helping Caribbean and Latin American countries get access to clean and reliable natural gas.”
Cassidy introduced this legislation the last two Congresses. In 2018, it passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 13-10.
The Caribbean small-scale LNG export market represents a relatively untapped outlet; the United States only exported approximately 138 billion cubic feet of natural gas to the region from February 2016 – July 2021. 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 2,867 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas, enough to last an estimated 84 years.
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.