LNG export ban crimps US ability to compete

Qatar announces plan for big LNG expansion

A flare burns off excess natural gas near an oil and gas plant Friday, April 8, 2022 in Midland, Texas. (Odessa American/Eli Hartman)

State Rep. Brooks Landgraf and Waco economist Ray Perryman say the Biden administration’s abrupt halt on new LNG export terminal permits is bad every way you look at it.

“It isn’t just a miscalculation, it’s a reckless gamble with our nation’s economic well-being,” said Landgraf, an Odessa Republican who represents Ector, Ward, Winkler and Loving counties in the 81st Representative District in Austin. “By withdrawing from the LNG market we’re not only undermining our country’s global influence, we are also effectively handing over the reins of global energy dominance to a Middle Eastern monarchy.

“This move isn’t just shortsighted, it’s a strategic blunder that puts our national security at risk and leaves our allies, who rely on us for energy security, scrambling for stability.”

Landgraf said the timing could not be worse amidst soaring energy prices worldwide.

“Qatar’s aggressive push to expand its LNG exports threatens to reshape the entire energy landscape, leaving American interests sidelined and vulnerable,” he said. “We cannot afford to surrender our position as a leading LNG exporter, especially when our allies depend on us to maintain geopolitical stability.

State Rep. Brooks Landgraf

“As a West Texan and a state representative proudly representing the hardworking men and women of the oil patch, I refuse to stand by while the Biden administration plays Russian roulette with our economic future and global influence. I will continue to fight tooth and nail, utilizing every available tool including my position on the House LNG Select Committee to advocate for policies that reinforce America’s energy dominance and protect our strategic interests.

“In this high-stakes game, playing dumb only leads to disastrous prizes,” Landgraf said.

Perryman said the LNG pause is a short-sighted decision which can negatively, albeit temporarily, affect the U.S. natural gas market as well as allies around the world who need secure, stable supplies.

“Investments in terminals, liquefaction and regassification facilities all involve billions of dollars and years of time,” he said. “It is likely and the market appears to anticipate that the pause will be lifted after the election irrespective of who wins while no ongoing or previously permitted facilities are affected.”

Nonetheless, Perryman said, the delay modestly increases the risks and costs associated with future capacity and that countries desiring to purchase LNG will experience delays.

“Having said that, the pause in U.S. permitting is not the impetus for the proposed investments in Qatar,” he said. “The simple basics of supply and demand certainly justify the development of LNG facilities on a broad scale.

Ray Perryman

“Given its long-term track record it is not at all clear that Qatar can meet these ambitious objectives. But the U.S. can expect the LNG market to have new and expanded competitors in the future. Unfortunately in some cases, these sources of LNG will not share priorities with our allies, enhancing geopolitical risks.”

Perryman said the United States natural gas industry has much lower emissions than the coal it often replaces and it meets critical energy needs in many areas.

“Projections from the Department of Energy, our firm and many others indicate ongoing and growing demand,” he said. “While improvements in the drilling and production processes, carbon capture and other measures are needed to address climate issues, responsible development is both possible and indeed essential.

“The world needs additional energy to support a growing population and enable economic development to alleviate extreme poverty. LNG will be a critical part of the global energy mix and the U.S. will be a leader in this expanding market despite this unfortunate pause.”

The QatarEnergy Co. recently announced plans to increase its LNG export capability by 85 percent by 2030 with the deployment of 104 ships.

“This massive undertaking is the largest shipbuilding and leasing program ever in the history of the industry,” Qatar officials told oilprice.com. “These ships will support our expanded LNG production capacity from the North Field in Qatar and Golden Pass in the U.S. while also meeting our long-term fleet replacement requirements.”