First natural gas exports delayed

First natural gas exports delayed
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The company behind the first liquefied natural gas export project in the contiguous United States has delayed the first shipment from the facility.

Cheniere Energy Inc. had planned to ship off its first load of natural gas from the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana in late January.But citing “instrumentation issues,” Cheniere said Thursday the shipment wouldn’t happen until late February or March, according to The Advocate.

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Republicans and some Democrats since 2014 have sought to encourage more exports of natural gas as a way to help United States allies that rely on unfriendly countries, like Russia, for their gas.

The Energy Department must approve all applications to export gas to countries that don't have a free-trade agreement with the United States, a process that some lawmakers say takes too long.

Sabine Pass got its export approval in 2012, and in 2015, the Energy Department increased the volume of gas the facility could export.

The terminal started liquefying gas for export in December, after the project was completed early and under budget, Cheniere said.

It will still be the first facility to export natural gas from the lower 48 states.