US House to vote on bill to reverse Biden's LNG pause

Credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON, Feb 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. House was expected to vote on Thursday on a bill that attempts to strip the power of President Joe Biden's administration to freeze approvals of liquefied natural gas exports.

If it passes the Republican-controlled House the bill would likely struggle in the Democratic-controlled Senate if brought to a vote.

The bill sponsored by Representative August Pfluger, of gas producing Texas, would leave the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the sole body approving LNG projects.

"We think it may mark more of a messaging effort and a start to debate than an end to the pause, as the bill seems unlikely to clear the Senate," the nonpartisan energy policy research group ClearView Energy Partners said in a note to clients.

Biden paused the approvals late last month for exports to big markets in Europe and Asia in order to take a "hard look" at environmental and economic impacts of the booming business. The United States became the largest LNG exporter last year and its exports are expected to double by the end of the decade.

The pause has met with outcry from Republicans who say it will hurt jobs and harm energy security for allies, especially in Europe, where countries are trying to cut dependence on pipelined gas from Russia after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Some moderate Democrats have also been skeptical of the pause saying they will push to stop it, if it hits jobs.

European Commission Executive Vice President Maros Sefcovic said this week after meeting Biden officials that the pause will have no impact on U.S. supplies to Europe over the next two or three years. Sefcovic said the U.S. is now the "global guarantor of energy security" and its responsibility goes beyond Europe.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner Editing by Frances Kerry)

((timothy.gardner@thomsonreuters.com; +1 202 380-8348 (Twitter @timogard); Reuters Messaging: timothy.gardner.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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