Washington: In a development that could benefit India's effort to import natural gas from the US, the Obama Administration has supported the Congress to approve or deny permits for shipments of Liquefied Natural Gas to Non-Free Trade Agreement countries in 45 days.
"If this is legislation that has been passed, we can comply with the regulation," the Assistant Secretary of Energy for Fossil Energy Christopher Smith told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing this week.
He replied in response to a question about the legislation which sets a 45 day deadline for approval of license to export natural gas to non-FTA countries like India.
Under current legislation US companies have to get case by case approval of export of natural gas to non-FTA countries which takes months and at times years.
The 45-day deadline would kick in after completion of individual project environmental reviews by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The House version of the bill which as passed this week sets a deadline of 30 days for approval for such applications, while the Senate version of the bill S-33 has a 45 day's timeline.
"I can say that the 45-day limit in this bill is something that we can comply with. If this legislation is passed as is currently written, the department will be able to accomplish its mission," Smith said.
We will, as always, accomplish the light and spirit of the law and where we believe this is the solution we will be able to comply with," he said when asked about the 45 day deadline set by S-33.
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources said the Alaska LNG project merits a conditional authorization from Department of Energy (DOE) on the basis of what the department itself has described as these unique features of an Alaska project.