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U.S. Debate on LNG Exports Centered at Energy Department

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HOUSTON, April 15, 2013 -- In the April 2013 issue of Oil & Gas Journal, Baker Botts L.L.P. lawyers Steven Miles and Tom Eastment explain why the epicenter of the debate over increased exporting of LNG will remain at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) until current laws are changed.

Use of hydraulic fracturing to produce natural gas and oil from shale and other tight formations has transformed U.S. energy markets, Miles and Eastment state in the opening of their article. Vast new oil and gas reserves are now commercially accessible, placing North American energy independence within reach.

This shift in U.S. energy supply has driven down domestic gas prices, breathed life into a broad array of long-struggling U.S. industries, and replaced the need for LNG imports with a growing potential for substantial LNG exports.

The prospect of the U.S. changing into a net exporter of natural gas has prompted an increasingly sharp debate over whether the U.S. should send its newfound energy bounty abroad where current prices exceed U.S. prices. The U.S. Congress is unlikely to stay on the sidelines on this policy issue, as evinced by the introduction of legislative proposals to authorize greater gas exports and the Feb.12, 2013, hearings on LNG exports by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Unless and until current law is changed, however, the epicenter of the debate will be at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Miles and Eastment point out. Their article explains why that is the case and suggest steps by current and future applicants for enhancing their chances of winning approval for their proposed projects.

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U.S. debate on LNG exports centered at Energy Department


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