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Pennsylvania Trade Groups Join LNG Export Coalition

Three of Pennsylvania's leading oil and gas industry trade groups have joined a coalition launched in February dedicated to the expansion of liquefied natural gas (LNG) markets overseas.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association (PIOGA) and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry are the latest organizations to join Our Energy Moment (see Daily GPI, Oct. 23, 2013).

The coalition's goal is to increase support for expanding markets for LNG through exports, primarily to non-free trade agreement (FTA) countries. The Pennsylvania organizations joined the coalition one day after the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued final authorization to Sempra Energy's large-scale Cameron LNG project and to a smaller Carib Energy LLC project for export of domestically produced LNG to non-FTA countries (see Daily GPI, Sept. 10).

They were the first final permits issued since 2012, when the only other facility, Cheniere Energy Inc.'s Sabine Pass liquefaction and export terminal, was given approval. Dozens of other applications still remain under review at the DOE.

The Sempra and Carib announcements were lauded by the industry and politicians for their job creation prospects and potential ability to strengthen the country's geopolitical standing across the globe. In joining Our Energy Moment, leaders from each of the Pennsylvania organizations said much the same about the economic benefits that future LNG exports could bring to the U.S.

"Increasing LNG exports would have a number of positive benefits for our country, including the creation of more American jobs, tax revenue and economic growth, as well as increasing our national security and improving our trade imbalance," said PIOGA President Lou D'Amico.

A study conducted by NERA Economic Consulting that was commissioned by the DOE in 2012 and updated in March, found that expanding LNG markets could generate $86 billion in net benefits for the U.S. economy and create as many as 2.4 million jobs by 2035 (see Daily GPI, March 11; Dec. 6, 2012).

The groups also said Pennsylvania would benefit as well, where operators in the Marcellus Shale are producing natural gas in ever-increasing volumes. Already, Appalachian pure-play Antero Resources Corp. and another key Marcellus player, Range Resources Corp., have announced deals to supply Sabine Pass with natural gas for export (see Daily GPI, July 18).

With their membership, the Pennsylvania groups bring to the coalition the interests of more than 1,000 oil and gas-related companies that they represent, and they join existing members that include Sempra, Cheniere and multiple economic development and trade associations from across the country.

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