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Expand chart

Data: ClearView Energy Partners; Chart: Chris Canipe / Axios

Former President Obama's top international energy envoy has joined a natural-gas exporting company that's banking on swift federal reviews under the Trump administration and a booming export market in five years.

Amos Hochstein, who ran the State Department's energy bureau under Obama, is now a senior advisor and vice president at Tellurian Inc., a company founded last year that filed an application in April to the Trump administration to export liquefied natural gas.

Why it matters: Hochstein's hire shows how natural-gas exports are one of the only narrow policy areas where bipartisan support has endured the transition from Obama to Trump. Obama streamlined the federal review process from three steps to two, and Trump officials signaled last month it's a top priority for them too.

The backstory: Dozens of companies are seeking to export U.S. natural gas now that America is awash in cheap supplies of the fuel, but the U.S. doesn't have free trade deals with the countries that most want to import it. Approval to send gas to those countries requires a two-step federal review process. Beginning in 2012, the Obama administration approved roughly two dozen natural-gas export applications to countries the U.S. doesn't have free-trade agreements with, according to Energy Department data.

Quoted: Citing the shale natural gas boom over the last decade and advances in extraction technologies, Hochstein said the Obama administration was in a position to take advantage of the new resources for economic, environmental and geopolitical reasons.

"I think the Trump administration is recognizing the same and so far I can see it continuing the policy," Hochstein said. "It's an area where there has been a rather seamless transition."

Two levels deeper:

  1. Tellurian was founded by industry executive Charif Souki after he was ousted from Cheniere Energy, considered a pioneer of the natural-gas exporting sector. Tellurian, which went public earlier this year, has poached other top Cheniere executives, including current CEO Meg Gentle and lobbyist Ankit Desai. Desai, who joined the company in March, also raised money for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
  2. Tellurian also just hired Anita Orban, who was the energy envoy for Hungary's foreign ministry. The combined hires of Orban and Hochstein, who focused much of his time at the State Department on helping European nations wean themselves from Russian gas, signals Tellurian wants to focus heavily on that European market.

What's next: Most analysts predict a glut of natural gas in global markets in the coming years, due largely to America revving up its export potential so much since 2012. Hochstein says Tellurian's application, planned to come online in 2022, could take advantage of what he predicts could actually be a shortage of gas, fueled by economies finding new ways to use natural gas, such as in shipping fuel.'

Correction: A chart previously published with this post was inaccurate and showed an incorrect interpretation of cumulative gas export volumes over time. We have updated the chart.

Go deeper

Scoop: Leaked HHS docs spotlight Biden's child migrant dilemma

A group of undocumented immigrants walk toward a Customs and Border Patrol station after being apprehended. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fresh internal documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show how quickly the number of child migrants crossing the border is overwhelming the administration's stretched resources.

Driving the news: In the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred to HHS custody an average of 321 children per day, according to documents obtained by Axios. That's up from a weekly average of 203 in late January and early February — and just 47 per day during the first week of January.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
49 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Mounting emissions data paints bleak picture on Paris climate goals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Researchers keep finding new ways to reveal that nations are together showing very few signs of getting on track to meet the Paris Agreement's goals.

One big question: That's whether a spate of recent analyses to that effect, and scientific reports coming later this year, will move the needle on meaningful new policies (not just targets).

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

How the tech stock selloff is hurting average Americans

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Investors holding the ultra-popular Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 index funds have been hard hit over the last two weeks as tech shares have been roiled by rising U.S. Treasury yields.

Why it matters: Even though the economy is growing and many U.S. stocks are performing well, most investors are seeing their wealth decline because major indexes no longer reflect the overall economy or even a broad swath of public companies — they reflect the performance of a few of the country's biggest companies.

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