The U.S. is producing more natural gas than ever before, and a number of companies want to export some of it as liquefied natural gas. Equity research firm Sterne Agee published a construction & engineering industry report today, April 10th, focusing on the growing groundswell of support for LNG exports in the U.S. Congress. The report highlighted recent developments in two separate House committees regarding LNG exports, and expressed the opinion that the legislative momentum could eventually translate into a streamlined LNG export permit process.

LNG Exports

U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee voted in favor of LNG exports

On April 9th, the US House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee voted to move a bill to facilitate approvals of LNG export to the full committee for further discussion. The decision was approved by a 15 to 11 margin following party lines, with Republicans voting yea and Democrats nay. The subcommittee also approved an amendment to House of Representatives (HR) 6 that would make companies looking for U.S. Department of Energy certification that their LNG exports align with national interests disclose the final destinations of the LNG to be sold.

U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means hearing

Earlier this week, the House Committee on Ways and Means also held a hearing on the trade implications of U.S. energy policy and LNG exports. Sterne Agee analysts Michael S. Dudas and Patrick Uotila felt the arguments for accelerating LNG approvals and streamlining regulatory procedures (in particular the complex Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval process) were more convincing than the anecdotal and emotional opposing arguments.

The report also noted that three of the four expert witnesses at the hearing supported working towards increasing LNG exports and simplifying the approval process.

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Dudas and Uotila also suggest that several names in the O&G sector are likely to benefit from the loosening of LNG export regulations. “Additional hearings held by legislators resulted in added momentum around facilitating liquefied natural gas exports (LNG) and streamlining approvals. In our view, easing regulatory constraints could provide significant tailwinds for US shale development investment supporting Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V. (NYSE:CBI), Fluor Corporation (NEW) (NYSE:FLR), Jacobs Engineering Group Inc (NYSE:JEC) and KBR, Inc. (NYSE:KBR).”