WASHINGTON Feb 14 The United States
should stop exports of natural gas to prevent domestic prices
from rising, Democratic Congressman Edward Markey said on
Tuesday while introducing two bills in the House of
Representatives to prevent shipments.
The bills, which would face an uphill battle in the
Republican-controlled House, come as U.S. regulators consider
applications for exports of a glut of natural gas that has
weighed down prices and caused some companies to step back from
One of the bills from Markey, an outspoken critic of the oil
and gas industry, would prevent the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission from approving any natural gas export terminals until
The other bill would prevent exports of natural gas drilled
on federal lands, and would ban pipelines crossing federal lands
from carrying natural gas destined for export. It was
cosponsored by Rush Holt, a Democratic congressman from New
"Low natural gas prices are a competitive advantage for
American businesses and a relief for American families, and
exporting our natural gas would eliminate our economic edge and
impose new costs on consumers," Markey said in a statement.
Front-month March natural gas futures on the New York
Mercantile Exchange were trading around $2.50 per million
British thermal units on Tuesday, rising from a 10-year low of
$2.231 hit in late January that forced some producers to
announce drilling cuts.
Markey has also tried to block exports of oil that would be
carried by TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, but has
so far been rebuffed in the House.
Under U.S. law, exports of natural gas to all but 15
countries that have free trade agreements with the United States
must get approval from the Energy Department, and FERC must
issue a permit for the export terminal.
The Energy Department has approved one export application
from Cheniere Energy for its Sabine Pass terminal, and
other companies including Southern, BG, Dominion
and Sempra have also requested permission.
The department has commissioned a study of the economic
impacts of natural gas exports, expected sometime this spring,
before making further decisions.
Last month, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said
exporting surplus U.S. natural gas could add as much as 9
percent a year to prices of the fuel for consumers and industry
over the next two decades, if all the applications were