U.S. says allies 'reassured' LNG pause does not affect current exports

(Reuters) - U.S. allies concerned about steady supplies of LNG are reassured when they understand President Joe Biden's pause on LNG export approvals does not affect currently permitted shipments, a U.S. State Department official said on Monday.

"I've found that our allies who raise these issues with me, tend to be quickly reassured when you explain to them what this is, which is a pause," not a reversal, Geoffrey Pyatt, an assistant secretary for energy resources, told reporters in a call. "This policy will have no impact on currently permitted LNG exports."

Biden said the pause would give time for the Department of Energy to take a "hard look" at the environmental and economic impacts of the booming industry. The pause could stop approvals for exports from LNG projects until after the Nov. 5 election.

More than 150 lawmakers in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives wrote to Biden on Sunday urging him to end the review and approve all pending applications.

"Policies supporting LNG exports will grow our economy, create good paying jobs, and strengthen the energy security of our allies," they said in a letter.

The U.S. is the world's top LNG exporter and Pyatt said the shipments would roughly double by the end of the decade as already approved projects ramp up.

"When you lay all of this out, it's pretty clear that there is no reason for concern among our allies, whether they be in Asia like Japan, or in Europe," Pyatt said.

Germany's gas importers SEFE and Uniper, Japan's top LNG buyer JERA and lobby groups say the U.S. decision might compromise energy security worldwide. SEFE and JERA plan to buy gas from Venture Global LNG's Calcasieu Pass 2 plant, one of the projects affected by the pause.

Europe will have enough gas supply for the next 10 years and beyond despite the U.S. pause, EU energy officials and analysts said, dismissing industry's warnings.


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