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By Ayesha Rascoe
WASHINGTON, April 14 (Reuters) - The U.S. Energy Department on Monday renewed ConocoPhillips' permit allowing the company to export liquefied natural gas from Alaska to all countries.
The approval was largely expected, as the U.S. government has long allowed LNG exports from Alaska's Kenai terminal, issuing its first permit allowing the shipments in 1967.
With the latest permit, ConocoPhillips will be able to export up to 40 billion cubic feet of LNG from Kenai over the next two years.
ConocoPhillips' previous permit lapsed in March 2013 amid concerns about falling gas output in the Cook Inlet region.
Last September, Alaska's Department of Natural Resources asked ConocoPhillips to resume LNG exports to help support local natural gas production and provide natural gas supply security in Southcentral Alaska.
"Today's announcement by DOE ... highlights the growth that's occurring in Cook Inlet, where there is now ample gas supply to both meet local needs and help out our friends overseas," said Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the top Republican on the Senate energy committee.
The recent push to export substantial amounts of LNG from the lower 48 states has faced opposition from some heavy industrial companies concerned that exports may cause shortages and price spikes. However, Alaskan gas exports have not been a major source of controversy because the state's geographic isolation means not much of its gas goes to the lower 48.
Japan has typically been the main buyer of Alaskan LNG.
ConocoPhillips shares were up about 0.8 percent at $64.30 in late trading on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe, editing by Ros Krasny; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)