White House Decision To Halt Natural Gas Export Increases: Economist Weighs In

Oklahoma is the 5th largest producer of natural gas in the United States. Today, the White House announced it will halt plans to increase some natural gas exports.

Friday, January 26th 2024, 10:42 pm

By: News 9, Matt McCabe


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A decision from the Biden Administration to pause permitting of new liquefied natural gas export terminals is receiving backlash from Oklahoma's top elected officials.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, Governor Kevin Stitt called it "stupid."

Senators Markwayne Mullin and James Lankford also criticized the decision in their statements. "Joe Biden's decision to temporarily pause pending approvals of LNG export terminals is a major blow to American energy security," Sen. Mullin said.

Sen. Lankford added, "The world will still need the same amount of natural gas, they will just send their money to Russia and the Middle East instead of America."

The White House made the move in response to concerns from environmental groups and advocates. "President Biden has listened to the science, he's looked out for frontline communities, and he's followed the facts," said Ali Zaidi, the National Climate Advisor in a briefing to reporters.

But, the Dean Emeritus for the Oklahoma City University School of Business, and who also worked as an oil and gas producer, said natural gas is one of the cleanest forms of readily available energy. "We're gaining in terms of electric production through solar, wind," said Steve Agee. "But there's been a lot of conversion of coal plants to natural gas plants because it's so efficient."

In 2022, 60% of electricity generated in the United States came from hydrocarbons, which include oil, natural gas, and coal. Of that amount, most came from natural gas, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Chesapeake Energy, which recently announced a merger with Southwestern Energy, will become the largest producer of natural gas in the country after the merger is complete. A company spokesperson said it has plans to become an exporter of liquefied natural gas at some point in the future. "Natural gas is a clean burning fuel," Agee said. "Of the hydrocarbons, it's the cleanest burning fuel."

None of the eight existing export facilities will be impacted by the permitting pause. 

European leaders, including European Commission Director-General for Energy Ditte Juul Jorgensen, have previously thanked the United States for increasing its exports of natural gas to Europe to compensate for less energy reliance on Russia.

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