Energy experts from the Center for American Progress recently released a paper warning that unchecked exports of Liquefied Natural Gas will harm the manufacturing renaissance currently underway. The paper called for more well-defined criteria to determine whether exports are in the national interest:
Since the Department of Energy is tasked with determining if export licenses are in the national interest, a mechanism for compensating the impact that price increases would have on the middle class and revitalized domestic manufacturing should be developed if export volumes are in the medium range to high range of projections.
From the paper’s key findings on LNG exports:
While the NERA report finds that increased exports would result in a small positive net benefit to the U.S. economy overall, there are worrisome distribution issues. Owners of natural-gas resources would benefit, whereas labor and capital in energy-intensive industries would be harmed.
The Center for American Progress analysis follows a November 2012 report from Third Way that called on the federal government to “enable the export of limited quantities of liquefied gas.” The Third Way paper concluded:
- There is an important role for the federal government to play by helping ensure access to-and stable demand for-natural gas.
- Federal regulators and policymakers should focus on protecting the balance of supply and demand that appears to be forming in the market after a period of volatility.
- Any amount of U.S. LNG exports beyond 6 bcf is unlikely to prove profitable enough to make the upfront capital costs of terminals appropriate.