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Biden Admin Delays Controversial Decision on LNG Expansion

The White House has delayed a decision it has been prompted to make on the approval of a new LNG export terminal that has pitted environmentalists against the energy industry.

According to a report in the New York Times, the federal government will first look into the CP 2 project’s impact on climate change and its implications for the U.S. economy and national security, unnamed sources said.

The CP2 project is Venture Global’s second LNG export facility. It has received initial approval from the federal government but recently became the focus of an attack from environmentalists that argued LNG is worse than coal and expanding U.S. export capacity went against the federal government’s stated aim to enable a transition away from hydrocarbons.

At the same time, however, the fast and massive growth in U.S. LNG export capacity is what turned the country into the largest exporter as of last year, and made it the top supplier of gas to Europe.

Venture Global’s CP 2 project was a natural target: with an annual capacity of 20 million tons of liquefied natural gas, it would be the largest such facility in the country and greatly increase the country’s total capacity, cementing its number-one spot at least until 2027 when Qatar’s North Field expansion should be completed.

From that perspective, growth in LNG exports is a national security issue of a positive nature. From the climate change activists’ perspective, however, it is a way to prolong the life of the oil and gas industry and that camp is very much against that, hence accusations of gas being dirtier than coal.

Because of the sensitivity of the issue, the White House will reportedly delay the decision on Cp2 until after the November elections, per the New York Times sources. This would increase uncertainty for Venture Global and fellow LNG developers who are waiting on the final word for 16 other projects, the NYT noted in its report.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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