Mar 17, 2022 - Energy & Environment

The Energy Department's delicate LNG position

The Asia Vision LNG carrier ship docked at a terminal in Sabine Pass, Texas

The Asia Vision LNG carrier ship docked at a terminal in Sabine Pass, Texas, on Feb. 22, 2016. Photo: Eric Kayne via Getty Images

The Energy Department's approval of wider LNG exports destinations from two Cheniere Energy facilities provided a window into the Biden administration's rather complicated relationship with the fuel.

Driving the news: The department Wednesday issued two long-term authorizations from Cheniere terminals in Louisiana and Texas to any countries that don't have free-trade deals with the U.S., including all of Europe, DOE said.

  • The announcement — which drew cheers from industry groups — noted the U.S. has already been increasing exports to Europe and said LNG is important to global energy security.
  • It also said that with exports rising, DOE is "particularly focused on driving down methane emissions in the oil and gas sector both domestically and abroad."

Our thought bubble: Communications about topics DOE is really jazzed about look ... different. They have quotes from Energy Secretary Granholm and others, and social media promotion that didn't occur with the announcement.

  • LNG is a tricky topic for the Biden administration as some environmentalists press officials to curtail fossil fuel exports.
  • But they always faced an uphill battle, and now Europe's push to end reliance on Russian gas is creating even more momentum for LNG.

Of note: The U.S. has recently become the world's top LNG exporter.

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