Known unknowns about Biden's natural gas diplomacy
Part of a new post by energy analyst Nikos Tsafos raises an important point: Joe Biden's approach to U.S. financing of natural gas projects abroad and LNG exports is something of a mystery, even as he plans new domestic regulations.
The big picture: Tsafos notes there's been significant support in recent years from a pair of U.S. agencies — the Export-Import Bank and the International Development Finance Corp.
"[T]he prospect of securing finance from the DFC has been a selling point for U.S. diplomacy, especially in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe," writes Tsafos, who's with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
What we're watching: Tsafos says the question for the new administration is whether it will keep up support for overseas gas projects even as it plans new rules and restrictions domestically.
- "Can the president squeeze gas at home while EXIM and the DFC finance gas projects overseas?"
- "And if there is a shift away from gas, how will that be communicated, especially in places where countries see gas as a central element of their near-term decarbonization or energy security strategies?"
The intrigue: On a related note, it remains to be seen how Biden will approach U.S. LNG exports, which both the Obama and Trump administration supported.
- Tsafos expects less weight given to gas exports as a diplomatic tool and a less rah-rah approach than Trump in general, but not a 180-degree policy turn.
- "Gas will take a more appropriate place in the pecking order of U.S. priorities—important but not top-tier."
Flashback: Axios' Amy Harder also looked at this question here.