June 4, 2008 / 5:28 PM / 12 years ago

RPT-US OKs Alaska LNG exports to Asia for 2 more years

NEW YORK, June 4 (Reuters) - The U.S. Energy Department approved a request this week for energy companies to continue exporting for two years liquefied natural gas from Alaska to Asian markets.

ConocoPhillips (COP.N) and Marathon Oil (MRO.N) requested authority to export up to 98.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas to Japan and other countries on either side of the Pacific Rim from April 1, 2009, through March 31, 2011.

The super-cooled LNG would be shipped from the Kenai, Alaska LNG export terminal.

Under federal law, any company that wants to export LNG must first get Energy Department permission to ensure the export would not harm U.S. energy supplies. The department said allowing the LNG exports to continue “will not be inconsistent with the public interest.”

LNG is natural gas altered for transportation aboard special tankers. When cooled to minus 259 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 162 Celsius), the gas changes into liquid and shrinks to less than 1/600th of its original volume.

Upon arrival at a terminal, the LNG is returned to a gaseous state and fed into pipelines. (Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by Christian Wiessner)

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