Energy & Environment

EU wants US to drop restrictions on natural gas exports

The European Union wants United States officials to repeal restrictions on exporting liquefied natural gas.

The request came in a Thursday statement from the European Commission, laying out what European officials want to accomplish to follow up on a nonbinding deal European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made last month with President Trump that included, in part, a desire to ship more liquefied natural gas from the United States to Europe.

“The European Union is ready to facilitate more imports of liquefied natural gas from the U.S. and this is already the case as we speak. The growing exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas, if priced competitively, could play an increasing and strategic role in EU gas supply; but the U.S. needs to play its role in doing away with red tape restrictions on liquefied natural gas exports,” Juncker said in the statement.

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Under the Natural Gas Act, the Department of Energy needs to certify that a proposal to export gas is in the “national interest” before it can proceed, except for countries that have free-trade agreements with the United States.

Any change to that would require legislation from Congress. Numerous Republican proposals would partially or fully repeal the requirement.

The European Commission said Juncker and Trump set up a working group between their governments last month to sort out agreements.

Juncker’s staff is also organizing an Aug. 20 trip to Washington, D.C., to discuss liquefied natural gas with their U.S. counterparts, the commission said.

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