Bill in US Senate to export natural gas to non FTA-nations

Bill in US Senate to export natural gas to non FTA-nations Washington: Increasing the prospects of export of shale gas to India, a bi-partisan group of four top American Senators has introduced legislation in the Senate to export natural gas, including liquefied natural gas, to countries that do not have free-trade deals with the US.

The legislation 'Expedited LNG for American Allies Act of 2013', specifically mentions NATO allies and Japan for export to natural gas to countries that do not have free trade agreement (FTA) with the US. It also says natural gas could be exported to non-FTA countries if the Secretary of State and Defense Secretary feels so in the national security interest.

The then External Affairs Minister S M Krishna discussed the issue of shale gas with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in New York last October. India wants its companies should be able to import shale gas in liquefied form through containerised vessels, as it does with LNG from Qatar.

Under current law, the Secretary of Energy must approve applications to export natural gas to countries with which the United States has a free trade agreement if that agreement requires national treatment for trade in natural gas.

The Act would require the Secretary of Energy to approve exports of natural gas to any other country if the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, finds that exports of natural gas to that country would promote the national security interests of the United States.

The significant legislation was introduced in the Senate yesterday by Senators John Barrasso, Jim Inhofe, Mark Begich and John Cornyn, who is co-chair of the Senate India Caucus.

"I am proud to work with my colleagues on this legislation that seeks to expedite the process for companies wishing to export liquefied natural gas to our friends and allies. Improving this process will yield important strategic opportunities to enhance our national security interests while continuing to grow our economy at home," Cornyn said.

Supporting LNG exports to countries whether or not they have a free trade agreement with the United States, Senator Barrasso said increased LNG exports will create good paying jobs and open markets for Wyoming?s natural gas.

"This will expand economic opportunities across America and help lower our nation's trade deficit. Our bill will also promote the energy security of key US allies by helping reduce their dependence on oil and gas from countries, such as Russia and Iran," he said.

PTI