HOUSTON, Texas - Cheniere Energy (NYSE AmEx: LNG) received approval on May 20 from the Department of Energy to export U.S. natural gas overseas, the first such authorization in over 40 years, the company announced.
Assuming Cheniere is granted a subsequent license from U.S. power regulators to build its liquefaction plant in Louisiana, it may become the first company to begin shipping LNG abroad since the discovery of vast shale reserves in recent years upended the U.S. market, flooding it with decades' worth of supply.
Cheniere has the authorization to export up to 803 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year to major LNG importers across the globe, from Brazil to Japan, in the form of liquefied natural gas, the company’s news release said.
Houston-based Cheniere already had approval to export natural gas to countries with which the United States has a free-trade agreement, a group that excludes almost every major importer, countries such as Spain, Korea and the UK. Friday's move opens up the export to all major LNG importers.