At the Platts conference I mentioned in my last post, an Obama administration official was pressed to explain why the Energy Department is taking so long to process LNG export applications.
His answer, according to RigZone, was to say that “DOE’s job was to make ‘good policy decisions’ that would unlock opportunities beneficial for the U.S. economy and for U.S.-based businesses.”
The more than two dozen proposed LNG export projects that are languishing in the queue show American companies to be perfectly capable of identifying plenty of such beneficial opportunities themselves.
DOE can unlock those opportunities by removing the arbitrary barriers to trade the agency has established with its go-slow approach to processing applications.
There is solid evidence those opportunities would benefit the American economy. The economic consultancy NERA has updated the study on LNG exports it did for the Department of Energy in 2012. The recent update looked at the cumulative impacts of LNG exports up to the maximum amounts the market would allow under any number of market scenarios.
One sentence in particular from NERA’s new report jumps out: “LNG exports provide net economic benefits in all the scenarios investigated, and the greater the level of exports, the greater the benefits.”
If the administration truly wants to make “good policy decisions,” the pathway forward is remarkably clear. It should recognize the time-sensitive window of opportunity for America, admit that government delays are not “beneficial to the U.S. economy and for U.S.-based businesses,” and start moving forward on government approvals at all levels to help American companies invest and innovate before it is too late.