LNG from Louisiana may be diverted to Europe, says former US energy secretary

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The existing Venture Global complex in Cameron Parish. (File photo)

As war rages in Ukraine, exports of liquefied natural gas from Louisiana could help reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, industry and government officials say.

The current export capacity of Louisiana’s LNG sector is about full. But some of those Asia-bound shipments could be redirected to Europe, says Dan Brouillette, a Louisiana native and former US energy secretary.

Brouillette is now chairman of Sempra Infrastructure, which owns a 50.2% stake in Cameron LNG in southwest Louisiana. He visited Baton Rouge today for his first meeting as a member of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

“If you look at where these shipments are going, a lot of them will end up in Europe,” he says. “We think it’s very important that we help our European allies.”

President Joe Biden is in Brussels this week for meetings with G7 and NATO leaders, where officials are expected to discuss ways to increase LNG supplies to Europe. While building and commissioning new facilities takes years, the Department of Energy last week authorized additional export permission from two existing facilities, Brouillette said.

“These are the kinds of steps that I hope the president is considering,” he says.

A federal permit is pending for a potential Cameron LNG expansion that Brouillette hopes will be approved this year before a final investment decision is made late this year or early next year. The owners changed the design to request more environmentally friendly electric drives, which necessitated the new permit, he says.

Congressman Garret Graves expressed optimism about a potential deal to export more domestic LNG to Europe to displace Russian gas, noting that the permits approved last week provide flexibility, not new capacity.

“Until they clear pending export terminal permits and allow new LNG facilities to be built, our ability to replace dirtier Russian gas is limited,” Graves says.

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