In an open letter to the US Department of Energy (DOE), non-profit energy trade association the Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) has called for a reduction in liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to prevent a supply crisis this coming winter.
Addressed to Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, the IECA urged the DOE to take ‘immediate action’ under the Natural Gas Act (NGA) to allow US inventories to reach the 5-year average storage levels.
The letter also advised the DOE to place a hold on all permits and approvals on LNG export facilities in the lower 48 states.
With the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reporting that natural gas stocks are 7% lower than the five-year average for this week, the IECA stated that to increase storage inventories to the five-year average by November, the US would have to inject more than 90 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of gas into its stocks per week.
Arguing that the DOE’s current LNG export application process is ‘extreme’ and ‘anti-consumer’, the IECA revealed that no export applications have been rejected, creating excessive LNG export volumes which threaten growth by driving up gas prices.
The organisation advised that the US should take immediate action to shift from an LNG export-driven policy to one that places the domestic consumer first, as intended under the NGA.
Not entirely opposed to LNG export, the IECA stated that it supports a ‘reasoned volume’ of exports providing it does not negatively impact US consumers.
The LNG shortage concerns present in the US market come amidst a carbon dioxide (CO2) supply shortage in Europe, causing soaring natural gas prices and wreaking havoc on the European fertiliser industry.