The recent political turmoil in Ukraine makes clear just how much the world needs the market-stabilizing power of U.S. energy exports. Our vast supply of natural gas offers us the ability and opportunity to increase our exports of LNG (liquefied natural gas) and create thousands of U.S. jobs, generate billions of dollars in government revenue, and enhance energy security both at home and for our allies around the world.
But red tape is stifling the process of approving new export applications and holding America’s LNG shipments to a trickle. Even though there are more than 20 pending applications, the Department of Energy has approved only seven since 2011. Each one of them represents a potential multi-billion dollar investment in infrastructure, U.S. labor, and production and infrastructure materials.
A study conducted by NERA Economic Consulting for the U.S. Department of Energy predicts that increased LNG exports would grow U.S. GDP anywhere from $5 billion to $47 billion by 2020. Another analysis by ICF International estimates as many as 76,800 manufacturing jobs would be added between 2016 and 2035. More LNG exports would cut the U.S. trade deficit and generate billions of dollars in additional royalties and new government revenues.
America has the technological know-how to get this done and more than enough product to support record levels of LNG exports for decades. But will our public policies and federal administrative choices stand in the way? That’s the key question.
Our nation’s wealth of natural gas presents us with unprecedented opportunity. It is time to put it to work.