Cheniere Energy subsidiary Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC is disputing claims that its application to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) would result in higher gas prices in the United States and the loss of domestic manufacturing jobs.

The Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA), which represents manufacturers, has asked the Department of Energy/Office of Fossil Energy (DOE/FE) to oppose the application filed by Sabine Pass in September (see Daily GPI, Aug. 20), which seeks long-term authorization to export up to 16 million metric tons annually of domestically produced LNG from the Sabine Pass terminal in Cameron Parish, LA.

The Sabine Pass application requests authorization to export LNG to "any country with which the United States does not have a free trade agreement requiring the national treatment for trade in natural gas and LNG, that has or in the future develops the capacity to import LNG, and with which trade is not prohibited by U.S. law or policy."

The IECA effectively is asking DOE/FE to place artificial market constraints on natural gas market participants, and to interfere with free commerce in one sector of the economy for the purported benefit of another, Sabine Pass said.

"If DOE/FE were to grant this request, such action would amount to an effective subsidy of one economic sector at the expense of another. These types of market constraints and subsidies are not in keeping with U.S. policy, which favors the open exchanges of goods, including energy, with international trade partners as serving the public interest," it noted.

Sabine Pass further argued that IECA provided "no empirical market studies" to support its position that DOE/FE's approval of its application would materially increase energy prices for the manufacturing sector and trigger the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act "creates a rebuttable presumption that the proposed export of natural gas is in the public interest. DOE/FE must grant an application for export authorization unless opponents can overcome that presumption through an affirmative showing of inconsistency with the public interest. IECA clearly has failed to meet that burden."

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