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Title: Exporting America’s Newfound Natural Gas Bounty: A Case for Increased U.S. LNG Exports
Authors: Ramirez, Jason
Advisors: Feiveson, Harold
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2013
Abstract: The shale gas revolution has provided the United States with tremendous opportunity. The newfound abundance of cheap natural gas has lowered energy bills for households, revitalized U.S. manufacturing and industry, and eliminated the need for LNG imports. In fact, energy companies are now approaching the government for permission to export LNG to higher-priced overseas markets. The proposition of exporting substantial amounts of U.S. LNG has sparked a national debate over whether or not such exports would be in the best interest of the country. Due to current U.S. law, the epicenter of this debate is at the DOE, which has instituted a de facto moratorium on permitting the critical license needed for LNG exports until the LNG export question has been resolved. This thesis assesses the implications of U.S. LNG exports for the purpose of determining whether or not exports would be in the public interest of the United States. It starts with a review of the current body of research that supports the policy discussion in Washington. Upon review, there are two noticeable gaps in this research. One deals with the likely domestic price impact from LNG exports, and the other involves the local impacts from export terminals. Filling in these gaps is a motivation for the research of this thesis. The research finds that the domestic price issue is primarily dependent on the elasticity of U.S. natural gas supply. There is compelling evidence that the U.S. can supply enough gas for domestic use and exports without prices rising substantially. Moreover, analysis of the international natural gas markets suggests the long-term U.S. LNG export opportunity is modest. Local impacts from LNG export terminals are significant, and should be a factor in the decision making calculus of policymakers. The research suggests, however, that current law and regulation can effectively manage the risks from export terminals. This thesis concludes that the United States should allow LNG exports. The shale gas revolution provides access to enough gas for the nation to use domestically and sell overseas for attractive profits. The United States is a bastion of free trade and open economies, and LNG exports do not pose risks that would force the United States to compromise on these principles.
Extent: 126 pages
Access Restrictions: Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2016

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