On Monday Reuters, citing unnamed sources, reported that a much-anticipated report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on the domestic market impacts of exporting liquefied U.S. gas is being prepared by NERA Economic Consulting. However, neither DOE nor the consultancy would confirm this.
DOE has said the report would be released by the end of the year. Its findings are viewed as a key component of the agency’s upcoming decision on whether to authorize additional exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that are not parties to a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States. Currently, Cheniere Energy holds the only such permit, which would allow non-FTA exports from its Sabine Pass LNG export terminal under development in Louisiana (see Daily GPI, Oct. 29).
A DOE spokesman told NGI on Tuesday that he had no information on what firm was preparing the report or when it would be released, only that it is supposed to see the light of day before the end of the year. NERA Economic Consulting did not respond to telephone and email messages requesting comment.
The firm is a March & McLennan company that prepares strategies, studies, reports, expert testimony and policy recommendations for government authorities and leading law firms and corporations, according to its website.
In recent months the DOE analysis and what it will mean to the LNG export plans of numerous parties have been discussed at just about any industry conference where LNG is on the agenda. Anyone — from Washington, DC-based energy lawyers to Houston-based LNG executives and academics studying energy– asked by NGI who might be the outside company preparing the report has declined knowledge and usually remarked on the secrecy surrounding the report.
The consultant’s report is the second part of DOE’s analysis of LNG export impacts on domestic gas markets.
“The analysis is still in progress. Once complete, the department will post the report for public comment in connection with the pending applications” for exporting LNG to countries with which the United States does not have FTAs, DOE said in September (see Daily GPI, Sept. 19). “The department will then continue the process required by statute to make public interest determinations on the pending applications.”
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