Texas lawmakers sided with the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry in calling for the U.S. Congress to expedite export approvals by doing away with an "onerous application process" at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

"Currently, an American company can export liquefied natural gas only to the limited group of countries with which the United States has existing free trade agreements [FTA], unless the firm obtains a license by undergoing an onerous application process through the Department of Energy..." reads the Texas resolution (SCR 32) approved by lawmakers.

"[T]he review of liquefied natural gas export applications has been extremely slow, resulting in costly and unnecessary delays in exports to many of our trading partners; moreover, this barrier contradicts the nation's historic trade policy and inhibits compliance with World Trade Organization rules..."

The resolutions says the United States is "the world's largest producer of natural gas," but it is limited in its global impact due to "antiquated trade restrictions.

"...Russia has been the dominant provider of liquefied natural gas to European countries, and much of the liquefied natural gas that they use flows through pipelines that cross Ukraine; recent turmoil there has threatened energy supplies to Europe, prompting efforts to diversify its sources of liquefied natural gas."

Expanding U.S. LNG exports to all World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries would bring the United States in line with WTO obligations and build ties with East Asia and other parts of the world, the resolution says.

The resolution echoes a recent call by pro-LNG export organization America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) (see Daily GPI, April 16). On Tuesday, ANGA's Frank Macchiarola, executive vice president of government affairs, praised the passage of SCR 32.

"This bipartisan measure urges Congress and the president to advance policies that will enable America to export natural gas to ensure our nation's competitive advantage in energy markets as a global energy leader," Macchiarola said. "Allowing American natural gas access to the global marketplace acknowledges the paradigm shift arising from the shale energy revolution that has resulted in America moving from a posture of energy scarcity to one of energy abundance."

Last week, DOE issued a final authorization for Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project to export domestically produced LNG to non-FTA countries (see Daily GPI, May 12). According to data compiled by ClearView Energy Partners LLC, the Corpus Christi non-FTA approval brings the total volume of exports to non-FTA countries authorized by DOE to 8.61 Bcf/d.

The first LNG exports from the Lower 48 are expected to begin by the end of this year -- from Cheniere's Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Louisiana (see Daily GPI, April 28; Oct. 30, 2014).