In a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) this week, Encana Corp. CEO Randy Eresman voiced his company's support for export of U.S.-sourced liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Lower 48 states, specifically as proposed by Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC, a unit of Cheniere Energy Partners LP.

Noting that DOE's Office of Fossil Energy is required to approve such exports unless they are shown to be "inconsistent with public convenience and necessity," Eresman said Sabine Pass should get the approval it seeks.

"Encana believes that the U.S. and North American natural gas markets have reached a state of maturity where there should be little fear on the part of regulators that the needs of U.S. consumers will be compromised if market access is not artificially restricted," Eresman wrote. "Reserve studies show that gas supplies are available from a variety of sources to meet U.S. needs for the foreseeable future -- certainly during the 20-year proposed term of [Sabine Pass'] export authorization."

Last summer Sabine Pass filed with DOE's Office of Fossil Energy for export authorization (see Daily GPI, Aug. 20). The application process is in two parts: one to seek authorization to export to countries with which a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) applies and another for export to countries with which an FTA applicable to natural gas/LNG is not is in effect.

"With specific reference to [Sabine Pass'] application, Encana is interested in exploring LNG export market possibilities as one of many market options for its North American production," Eresman said.

The Sabine Pass proposal was recently joined by a similar export proposal from Freeport LNG and Macquarie Energy (see Daily GPI, Nov. 23). And on Canada's West Coast backers of the proposed Kitimat LNG export terminal at Bish Cove in British Columbia recently applied for their license with Canadian regulators (see Daily GPI, Dec. 13).

Analysts at PIRA Energy Group said recently that they expect the Kitimat project to go forward as well as at least one export project on the U.S. Gulf Coast (see related story).

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