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U.S. Is the World’s Largest Natural Gas Producer. Why Is New England Still Importing Foreign LNG?

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The United States has an abundance of natural gas, particularly in the Appalachian Basin. In fact, as the American Oil and Gas Reporter recently explained:

“Today, Appalachia by itself is outproducing all but two of the nations on the list of the world’s top liquified natural gas exporters in 2021: the United States and Russia. In short, Marcellus and Utica producers are sending more gas to the sales line every day than the entire countries of Australia, Qatar and Malaysia–all of which are among the five largest LNG exporters.” (emphasis added)

Yet despite this, just a few states over in New England, residents are still importing foreign natural gas following a series of policies and political actions over the last several years that have blocked the necessary additional pipeline capacity needed to meet winter demand. As the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America recently tweeted:

Already this year, the Everett LNG import facility in Massachusetts has received four cargo shipments of natural gas and if Energy Sec. Jennifer Granholm’s letters to New England governors last week is any indication of the winter to come, those won’t be the last as cold temperatures return this year. The Secretary urged governors to bolster their energy supplies, writing:

“I urge you to consider what additional steps you can take in the coming weeks to improve preparedness, including using any legislative or executive tools at your disposal, working with responsible state agencies to require increased storage levels, and encouraging industry to voluntarily prioritize increasing gasoline and distillate inventories at this pivotal period of heightened risk.” (emphasis added)

It’s the same conversation year after year, and yet the simplest solution, additional pipeline infrastructure to bring resources from nearby Pennsylvania into the region, remains off the table. It remains to be seen if proposed permitting reform legislation will change that, but for this winter, it appears it will be another “too little, too late” year for New England’s residents who already pay some of the highest costs in the world for energy in winter.

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