The Biden administration’s decision to delay the approval of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in the United States may have marked a major victory for environmental advocacy groups in both the US and Europe (while effectively punishing Texas – the world’s 3rd largest LNG exporter, for defending the southern border), it was a terrible move for Western interests.
Energy experts are saying that the move benefits America’s enemies and harms the country’s allies.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board called it “an election-year gift to Russia and Iran.“
U.S. LNG exports have increased by about 31 billion cubic feet per month (8.7%) since January 2022, which has helped Europe wean itself off Russian energy and reduced global gas prices. If not for U.S. LNG, political support in Europe for Ukraine might have flagged as its citizens shivered.
A new major Russian LNG export facility is scheduled to come online this year. Iran, the world’s third largest natural-gas producer, has revived construction on an LNG export facility that it aims to complete next year. The U.S. surpassed Qatar last year as the world’s top LNG exporter, but new projects could help Doha regain its lead.
If new U.S. LNG projects are blocked, Europe and Asia will have to import gas from elsewhere to meet their growing demand. Most won’t come from America’s friends. Yet the climate lobby says new LNG projects will lock in higher CO2 emissions for decades. They’re apparently less worried by the 305 coal-fired power plants that China has announced or has in the works.
“There is no review needed to understand the clear benefits of U.S. LNG for stabilizing global energy markets, supporting thousands of American jobs, and reducing emissions around the world by transitioning countries toward cleaner fuels,” American Petroleum Institute (API) CEO Mike Sommers said in a statement, adding “This is nothing more than a broken promise to U.S. allies, and it’s time for the administration to stop playing politics with global energy security.”
What’s more, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Europe turned to the United States in its quest to reduce its dependence on Moscow – resulting in a 141% increase in 2022 exports of US LNG over the previous year, and increased modestly in 2023, according to research firm Kpler. Thanks to a combination of those imports and mild winters, Europe has been able to avert winter shortages.
“U.S. LNG exports improve global energy security as U.S. natural gas is becoming Europe’s primary energy supply source replacing Russia,” says Rob Thummel, the senior portfolio manager at Tortoise, in a statement to the Epoch Times.
While the White House has pointed climate activism as inspiring the move, most people with two brain cells to rub together assume it has to do with the administration’s brewing battle with Texas over the southern border.
“This reckless move is nothing more than retaliation against Texas — for standing up to this administration over the border crisis,” said Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham on X.