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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 22, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Biden's opening move against federal lands drilling

Data: BloombergNEF; Note: 2020 reflects the average through September; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The first phase of the Biden administration plan to thwart new oil and natural gas permitting on federal lands has arrived.

Driving the news: An Interior Department order Thursday imposes a 60-day freeze on new drilling permits, leases, lease extensions and other actions, though it "does not limit existing operations."

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell (left) during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block Texas' near-total ban on abortions while federal courts consider its constitutionality.

The big picture: The court last month allowed the ban to take effect, rejecting an emergency application by abortion-rights groups. The law bars the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.