Democratic News

Watch video of Sen. Cantwell’s full opening remarks here.

Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) discussed the role of U.S. liquefied natural gas in meeting European energy demand. 

“The prospects of increased U.S. LNG exports and growing global LNG markets can create opportunities for countries to look to diversify their natural gas supply,” said Senator Cantwell. “While it is good to discuss ways to help our allies I hope we would not lose focus on protecting U.S. consumers.”

“When the Department of Energy makes their public interest determination, they should prioritize domestic consumption before exports and should ensure there are proper environmental mitigation measures in place when considering any benefits of using natural gas,” said Senator Cantwell.

Broadcast quality video of Senator Cantwell’s opening statement can be found here.

Witness testimony will be available online immediately before the start of each hearing on the committee website.

Read Senator Cantwell’s full opening statement below:

Thank you Madam Chair and I too thank all those that are preparing for the storm that is hitting our coast and thank everybody for their hard work and diligence. I would point out as I watch the T.V. and I continue to see this information about the European model vs. the U.S. model and I hope as we continue to move forward we will put more time into supercomputing information that allows us to have as good as information and modeling about our U.S. storm impacts. I think that this is vitally important for us and for many parts of the United States.

I would if I could point of privilege say something good about a storm which is I want to congratulate the Seattle Storm on winning the Women’s WNBA Championship last night and all the good work that they did…so very happy about that storm. So congratulations to all of them on all their hard work and congratulations to Seattle.

Well, Madam Chair thank you for holding this hearing about the role that U.S. liquefied natural gas can play in European energy demand. While it is good to discuss ways to help our allies I hope we would not lose focus on protecting U.S. consumers. Driven in large part by technologies developed by R&D by the Department of Energy there has been a dramatic growth in domestic natural gas production.

The growth in U.S. production has driven down natural gas prices for consumers and provided a key U.S. competitive advantage for manufacturers that use natural gas as an energy source and feedstock. As natural gas production has increased, the volume of natural gas exports has also increased. The United States became a net natural gas exporter in 2017 for the first time in nearly 60 years.

The U.S. LNG exports reached 25 destinations last year, more than half of those LNG exports were shipped to three countries: Mexico, South Korea, and China. Countries in Europe have accounted for the third-largest share of U.S. LNG exports. Several more LNG export projects are expected to be completed in the coming years and once completed the U.S. LNG export for per capacity is expected to reach 9.6 billion cubic feet per day by the end of 2019.

The Department of Energy has approved over 20 billion in cubic feet per day in export capacity, with another 30 billion cubic feet per day in pending applications. So when the Department of Energy makes there public interest determination, they should prioritize domestic consumption before exports and make sure that there are proper environmental mitigations in place when considering the benefits of using natural gas.

The prospects of increased U.S. LNG exports and growing global LNG markets can create opportunities for countries to look to diversify their natural gas supply. For example, countries in Europe are heavily dependent, as the Chair said, on Russia for their natural gas supply and Russian natural gas accounted for 37 percent of European imports in 2017.

However, other factor influence LNG cargo delivery and although Europe has a large number of LNG import facilities, they currently only operating at 20 to 30 percent of capacity…I’m sure we’ll hear about this…And the International Energy Agency projects that U.S. LNG suppliers will reach a market share of only about 10 percent of the LNG imports to Europe by 2025.

So it is clear that the role of U.S. LNG can be particularly impactful and but will be driven by economics, it will be driven by infrastructure, and perhaps a little policy here, but I look forward to exploring these topics and hearing from our witnesses today.

So thank you for scheduling this hearing.

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