Lake Charles company to begin exporting to non FTA-nations

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An announcement Wednesday could make south Louisiana, an even bigger player in the global energy economy. The federal government has given a Lake Charles company the OK to begin exporting billions of dollars worth of natural gas to foreign countries.

Wednesday the Department of Energy expanded Lake Charles Export LLC's possibility to export liquid natural gas. They've been doing it since 2011 but to only 17 countries who have free trade agreements with the U.S. But now the federal government has opened the door for them to sell to dozens of others who don't have that advantage.

“We have so much natural gas, we don't have as much of a need for it right now in the United States,” says Gifford Briggs.

Briggs, Vice President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association says this a huge step for the industry as producers have more than what they know what to do with.

“North Dakota they've flared off two months supply of natural gas, and Eagle Ford in Texas flared off their natural gas because of there's no capacity in the pipe line, there's no capacity for storage,” explains Briggs.

The permit is to send up to two billion cubic feet, per day of liquid natural gas for the next 20 years. It's a permit that will be worth billions of dollars and could explode the economy in south Louisiana. Briggs says it could lead to the weakening of the Middle Eastern oil strangle hold on the U.S. and other nations.

“A free market where all natural gas is traded that weakens the oil cartels control of oil and supply of oil is a good thing,” says Briggs.

However some analysts say this deal could raise prices of natural gas here at home, but Briggs says it would be minuscule for consumers.

“If you were putting natural gas into your car it might amount to a 3 cent increase in the price of the actual fuel,” explains Briggs.

The permit is conditional at this point and is still subject to environment review and final approval. In a statement, Congressman Charles Boustany applauds the permit, however says this.

“I encourage it, DOE, to honor its word by making announcements in the six to eight week timetable set earlier this year. This application took over two years to authorize. LNG exports will create U.S. jobs, lower our trade deficit, and provide for greater energy security. The process must not be needlessly delayed.”

Meanwhile Briggs hopes other similar permits will also be issued to other natural gas exporters.

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