US approves export of natural gas

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The U.S. Energy Department said it approved the export of compressed natural gas from a port in Florida to countries without a U.S. free-trade agreement.

Canadian-based energy company Emera submitted a request to the U.S. government in late 2013 to export the gas equivalent of 9.13 billion cubic feet per day to countries that don’t have a free-trade agreement with the United States.

“Among other factors, the department considered the economic, energy security, and environmental impacts and determined that exports at a rate of up to 0.008 billion cubic feet per day for a period of 20 years was not inconsistent with the public interest,” the Energy Department said in a statement.

Emera under the terms of the consent agreement will export compressed natural gas from a proposed facility at the Port of Palm Beach, Fla.

There was no public statement from Emera on the DOE approval or export considerations. The Energy Department said port facilities could be established for exports by the end of the year. While Emera has consent to export gas, the company’s application says the bulk of the gas would be used to provide fuel to its affiliate, Grand Bahama Power Co.

U.S. energy advocates say more exports of oil or natural gas could provide a source of economic stimulus and increase U.S. leverage overseas. For a liquefied form of natural gas, the U.S. Energy Information Administration found the “effects on overall economic growth were positive but modest.”

EIA expects domestic natural gas production should average a record rate of 78.9 billion cubic feet per day for full-year 2015.

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