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How to Obtain Authorization to Import and/or Export Natural Gas and LNG

I. Background

Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (15 U.S.C. 717b) prohibits the import or export of natural gas, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) from or to a foreign country without prior approval from the Department of Energy (DOE). Parties who want to enter into natural gas transactions with foreign sellers and buyers must file for an import and/or export authorization under the rules and procedures found in 10 CFR Part 590 of DOE's regulations.

The following general instructions are designed to assist applicants applying for an import and/or export authorization. While the process is not complicated, applications are required to be filed at least 90 days in advance of the proposed import and/or export. (10 CFR Part 590.201)

Send all paper or non-electronic official communications by mail to:

Larine A. Moore
U.S. Department of Energy
P.O. Box 44375
Washington DC 20026-4375

A docket number will be assigned to the application when it is received by DOE and should be referenced in future communications involving each application. Please direct any questions concerning the filing of an application to Larine Moore at (202)586-9478.

II. Procedures for Filing an Application
A. Types of Authorizations

      -Long-Term Authorization (hardcopy)

A company should apply for long-term import or export authorization if it has a signed gas purchase and/or sales contract for a period of time longer than two years. The regulations require an applicant to submit the contract(s) with the identity of the sellers of gas, the markets in which the gas is to be sold, and the terms of the sale agreement(s) along with a start date.

-Blanket (Short-term) Authorization (online)

A blanket import and/or export authorization enables a company to import and/or export gas on a short-term or spot market basis for transactions with terms of no longer than two years. Gas purchase and sales contracts are not filed as part of an application, however, a start date is required. Hardcopies are still accepted, but our preferred and most expedient method is online
E-Filing process.

  • Requirements for Vacating Existing Authorizations and Requesting a
    Name Change    


A company may request to vacate its current authorization at any time prior to the expiration date. A vacate request should identify the authorization holder (company), parent company and/or company legally authorized to request the vacate (if different from the authorization holder). Each request should include the docket number, DOE/FE Order number, the effective date of the Order to Vacate and the reason for the request to vacate.


In the event of a name change or merger, the authorization holder must submit a request to vacate the current authorization via email, or correspondence, and submit a new and separate application requesting authority to import or export under new company name (this can be done online). In addition a copy of the state issued Certificate verifying the name change and its effective date must be submitted at the time of the request before the new application will be processed. An adjustment to the monthly reports after the name change effective date may also be required.

Applications requiring a retroactive effective date cannot be filed online, and must be filed in a hardcopy format, and will treated on a case-by-case basis.

  • Report of Contract Amendments and Other Changes 

Any person authorized to import and/or export natural gas and/or LNG has a continuing obligation to provide written notification of any prospective or actual changes to the information submitted with or in the application including, but not limited to, amendments or other changes in the terms and conditions of any natural gas purchase contract, in volumes accepted or offered, or the import and/or export price paid. Notification must also be made in changes of company name as the result of a sale, merger, or the company ceases to exist.

    B. Requirements

    1. Each hard copy application shall consist of an original and three (3) copies.

    2. A filing fee of fifty dollars ($50) must be submitted with each application. Make checks payable to the Treasurer of the United States.

    C. Contents of Application

    While no specific format is required for an application, the following sequence for setting out the facts is provided for your convenience:

    All Application Should Include:

    1. State the exact legal name of the company, including the name of the parent company if the applicant is a subsidiary or affiliate.

    2. State the name, title, post office address and telephone number of the person(s) to whom correspondence regarding the application should be addressed. Also include the name, title, address and telephone number of a corporate officer or employee of the applicant to whom inquiries may be directed.

    3. Provide a concise statement which describes the proposed import and/or export arrangement, including the associated volume of natural gas expressed in Bcf (billion cubic feet), and a start date.

    4. For long-term applications, identify the supplier or purchaser of the natural gas to be imported and/or exported, the name of the U.S. transporter(s), the point(s) of entry or exit on the international border, and the geographic market(s) served, and a start date.


    5. Also for long-term applications, describe the major provisions of the gas purchase or sales contract, including base price, volume requirements, take-or-pay obligations, make-up provisions, transportation, reservation fees, and other costs.

    6. Exhibits to Application - The following exhibits must be included with each application:

    o Exhibit A. A statement, including a signed opinion of counsel, showing that the import and/or export of natural gas, and/or LNG, is within the corporate powers of the company.

    o Exhibit B. For long-term applications, a copy of the gas purchase or sales contract, or both.

    III. Additional Requirement

    Monthly Reports - Within 30 days following each calendar month, a report indicating whether imports and/or exports have been made should be filed. The information contained in these reports include, among other things, (1) country of origin or destination; (2) point(s) of entry or exit; (3) volumes delivered at each point; (4) price; (5) supplier; and (6) geographic area served (for imports). More information on these reports may be found in the Sample Reports Formats and Guidelines section of this web site.

    IV. Natural Gas Import & Export Regulation - LNG Exports (hardcopy)

    The Energy Policy Act of 1992 (Policy Act) amended the NGA to change how a significant percentage of the applications are processed. NGA Section 3 applications for the import and/or export of natural gas including LNG, from or to nations with which the United States has a Free Trade Agreement and the import of LNG from other international sources are deemed to be in the public interest, and must be granted without modification or delay. Currently, the United States has Free Trade Agreements with Canada and Mexico. Applications not covered by the Policy Act provisions include applications to export LNG, and applications to import or export natural gas from or to countries not having a Free Trade Agreement with the United States. These applications must be filed in the hard copy format, and require the issuance of a Federal Register Notice.


     Page owner:  Fossil Energy Office of Communications
    Page updated on: October 01, 2010 

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