Sen. Murkowski Issues Report Warning of Narrowing Window for LNG Exports

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today released a white paper outlining the case for exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and urging swift action on permit approvals before the nation misses a historic opportunity. The paper, entitled The Narrowing Window: America’s Opportunity to Join the Global Gas Trade, includes in-depth analysis that leads to a set of pro-growth policy recommendations.

“We’ve carefully examined the issue of natural gas exports, weighing the evidence and listening to all points of view, but the analytical debate is now over,” Murkowski said. “The United States has a historic opportunity to generate enormous geopolitical and economic benefits by expanding its role in the global gas trade.”

The U.S. Department of Energy has received more than 20 applications to export LNG to non-free trade agreement countries. Diplomats from many of these nations, including Japan and India, have urged the Obama administration to approve export licenses as quickly as possible.

“We meet with foreign delegations on a regular basis, and they routinely express their concerns over long delays, as well as the uncertainty surrounding the timeline for review,” Murkowski said. “As a nation, we need to send a clear and resounding message that the United States is a reliable trading partner and is ready to do business.”

Other nations around the world are already building their export capabilities. Qatar, Malaysia, Australia, and many other countries already dominate the LNG trade. Facilities required to liquefy natural gas for transport, however, are expensive, and also require costly infrastructure to import it.

“Limits on demand and the availability of financing create a narrowing window for the United States,” Murkowski said. “If we don’t move quickly, we may miss that window, and it may be a long time before it opens up again.”

Murkowski’s white paper relies on the latest analysis from academia, think tanks, the private sector, and government agencies. It is the culmination of a series of hearings and roundtables held by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee over the past year. The white paper can be found on the committee’s website. Questions and comments may be directed to Tristan Abbey and Kate Williams, members of Murkowski’s committee staff, at (202) 224-4971.

Murkowski is the senior senator for Alaska and the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.