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Monday, September 10, 2012 - 12:02pm

LNG Importer Seeks To Export

Owners of a liquefied natural gas terminal on Elba Island near Savannah are seeking to expand their export options.

Southern LNG is seeking permission to ship natural gas to non-free-trade counties.

The Department of Energy already has given the company permission to export LNG to free-trade countries.

The plans call for up to $4 million tons of LNG to go out of the country, taking advantage of booming shale gas domestically.

Dave Schryver of the American Public Gas Association says, exporting gas would increase costs in the US and wouldn't help the country become energy independent.

"In terms of exporting natural gas, the number of countries currently export natural gas, so they'll be competing with those countries," Schryver says. "From AGPA's persepctive, we've argued that this is not in the best interest of the country."

Schryver says, the price of natural gas is six times higher in Asia than in the US.

"Five years ago, a lot of investors spent tremendous capital to construct these import facilities which ultimately did not work out for them," Schryver says. "The import facilties more or less became out-dated because of the increase of natural gas being produced here."

If approved, the facility's construction could employ a thousand people.

Energy Department officials have to determine if the request is in the nation's best interest.