The US Government has announced a temporary pause on approvals for LNG exports to countries with which it does not have free trade agreements (FTA).  

This decision will allow the Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct a review of the economic and environmental impacts of LNG export projects. 

In a statement, the DOE said it has been tasked by Congress with assessing the public interest of LNG exports to non-FTA countries on various factors including market dynamics, economic impacts, national security and environmental considerations. 

The US, a key player in LNG exports, has an operating capacity of 14 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) and has approved a total of 48bcf/d to date.  

As per the DOE, an additional 12bcf/d of US export capacity is authorised and under construction, which is expected to nearly double exports within this decade. 

In a statement, US President Joe Biden said: “My Administration is announcing today a temporary pause on pending decisions of Liquefied Natural Gas exports – with the exception of unanticipated and immediate national security emergencies.  

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“During this period, we will take a hard look at the impacts of LNG exports on energy costs, America’s energy security, and our environment. This pause on new LNG approvals sees the climate crisis for what it is: the existential threat of our time.” 

Citing Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Reuters reported that the review will take several months, after which it will be up for public comment, which will require more time.  

The current pause will not affect exports that have already been authorised, nor will it impact the US’ ability to supply allies in Europe, Asia, or other regions with existing authorisations. 

In 2022, more than 60% of US LNG exports were directed to Europe.