Natural Gas Import & Export Regulation
Frequently Asked Questions
WHY GET AN AUTHORIZATION TO IMPORT OR EXPORT NATURAL GAS?
Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act of 1938, as amended, requires anyone who wants to import or export natural gas, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) from or to a foreign country must first obtain an authorization from the Department of Energy. The Office of Natural Gas Regulatory Activities is the one-stop-shopping place to obtain these authorizations in the Department. The import/export authorizations are necessary for anyone who wants to market, trade, or use foreign natural gas.
There are basically two types of authorizations, blanket and long-term authorizations. The blanket authorization enables you to import or export on a short-term or spot market basis for a period of two years. Under this type of authorization, you are authorized to import and/or export natural gas, and/or LNG for your self or act as a marketing agent for a third party. You are not obligated to import or export natural gas when you get a blanket authorization and contracts are not required to be filed with the application. The long-term authorization is used when you have, or intend to have, a signed gas purchase or sales agreement/contract for a period of time longer than two years.
WHO IS IMPORTING AND EXPORTING NATURAL GAS?
Who imports and exports natural gas? We receive applications for authorizations from many sources such as local distribution companies, municipalities, industrial end-users, electric utilities, pipeline transportation companies and individuals and companies that market natural gas. Normally our applicants are the buyers or sellers of quite large volumes of natural gas for business purposes. During 2010, our office issued 166 orders authorizing the importation and exportation of natural gas, including LNG.
HOW MUCH GAS IS IMPORTED AND EXPORTED?
What are the requested volumes of natural gas for import or export? Applicants filing for blanket authorizations have requested import and/or export volumes ranging from two to 900 Bcf over a period of two years. Applicants filing long-term authorizations have requested import or export volumes ranging from one to 600 MMcf per day over a period of nine to 20 years. If you are interested in seeing what volumes of gas are actually being imported today see the Quarterly Report Page.
WHERE DOES THE NATURAL GAS COME FROM OR GO TO?
What are the countries of origin for natural gas imported into the U.S. and destination of gas exported from the U.S.? Gas is imported or exported from and to Canada and Mexico through natural gas pipelines. The majority of natural gas comes into the United States from Canada through pipelines. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is imported from Algeria, Trinidad & Tobago, Qatar, Malaysia, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates and exported to Japan aboard ocean going tankers. The Quarterly Report Page can give you specific information about where our natural gas supplies are coming from or where U.S. natural gas is marketed.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET AN AUTHORIZATION?
If you want to import foreign natural gas, and/or LNG, or export domestic gas to another country, you must file an application for an import/export authorization in compliance with DOE regulations. For information on the export of LNG. An application is not complicated. While there is no form to fill out we do require a narrative submission in a recommended format (average five to ten pages). Processing time for blanket applications is short (averaging two weeks), long-term applications take a little longer to process. The filing fee of $50.00 per application is relatively inexpensive. For help in filing see how to apply/application process and sample applications.