ExxonMobil: U.S. Energy Industry Must Oppose Restrictions on LNG Exports

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Monday March 25, 2013

ExxonMobil Chemical President Stephen Pryor is calling for the U.S. energy industry to oppose restrictions on the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG), Platts reports.

"These proposals to block LNG investments ... represent a selective and harmful departure from the free market and free trade principles," Pryor told an audience at the IHS World Petrochemical Conference Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Energy is considering applications for the export of LNG to non-free trade agreement nations, but some petrochemical companies want to block such exports to keep the natural gas in the country for use as a feedstock for their operations.

Pryor said protectionist measures could lead to a backlash from other nations.

"How can the US secure sanctions against China for restricting exports of rare-earth minerals, without inviting sanctions on the US for restricting exports of natural gas," he said.

"And how can the US ask Japan, a close ally still suffering from energy shortages, to stop importing oil from Iran, if we prevent Japan from importing gas from the US?"

ExxonMobil and other major energy companies want to export LNG to address a glut of natural gas in the U.S. due to extraction from shale.

Pryor said U.S. proven reserves of gas have increased almost 50 percent since 2005.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc. and Kinder Morgan Inc., are among the other energy companies with plans to export LNG from the U.S., through a planned Georgia facility that they hope to use to ship the fuel to both Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries and to non-FTA countries.

Japan is also currently seeking a trade deal that would give it access to U.S. LNG without the need for special approval.