The Biden administration is delaying a decision on a Louisiana LNG project that would be the largest in the US, but which has been met with scorn by environmental groups, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
Owing to an export capacity of around 20 million tonnes per year, Venture Global LNG’s Calcasieu Pass 2 (CP2) project would be twice the size of the company’s present CP plant, and if built, Venture Global will become one of the largest LNG companies in the world.
According to the Times, the White House is directing the Department of Energy, which decides whether LNG exports are in the ‘public interest’, to expand a review of LNG exports to include more climate change criteria. A further 16 proposed LNG export projects could be delayed by these new criteria.
Politically, a delay on CP2 until after the 5 November US presidential election could benefit the Democrats, as it would spare them the ire of environmentalists who form a large part of President Joe Biden’s base. Climate activists disapprove of new LNG projects as they claim this locks in global reliance on fossil fuels for decades.
Commenting on the Times report, Shaylyn Hynes, a company spokesperson from Venture Global, said: “Such an action would shock the global energy market, having the impact of an economic sanction, and send a devastating signal to our allies that they can no longer rely on the United States.”
In 2023, the US became the world’s largest exporter of LNG. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago, the importance of US LNG has increased in Europe. Subsequently, Europe was the top destination for US exports, buying 61% of them in December.
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Along with contributing to diversification away from Russian energy supplies, Venture Global and other LNG companies have said that US LNG exports can also help reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by displacing coal in Asia and other parts of the world.