[House Hearing, 113 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
ENERGY NEEDS IN ASIA: THE U.S. LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS OPTION
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED THIRTEENTH CONGRESS
MAY 29, 2014
Serial No. 113-171
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.foreignaffairs.house.gov/
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COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California, Chairman
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
DANA ROHRABACHER, California Samoa
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio BRAD SHERMAN, California
JOE WILSON, South Carolina GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
MICHAEL T. McCAUL, Texas ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey
TED POE, Texas GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia
MATT SALMON, Arizona THEODORE E. DEUTCH, Florida
TOM MARINO, Pennsylvania BRIAN HIGGINS, New York
JEFF DUNCAN, South Carolina KAREN BASS, California
ADAM KINZINGER, Illinois WILLIAM KEATING, Massachusetts
MO BROOKS, Alabama DAVID CICILLINE, Rhode Island
TOM COTTON, Arkansas ALAN GRAYSON, Florida
PAUL COOK, California JUAN VARGAS, California
GEORGE HOLDING, North Carolina BRADLEY S. SCHNEIDER, Illinois
RANDY K. WEBER SR., Texas JOSEPH P. KENNEDY III,
SCOTT PERRY, Pennsylvania Massachusetts
STEVE STOCKMAN, Texas AMI BERA, California
RON DeSANTIS, Florida ALAN S. LOWENTHAL, California
TREY RADEL, Florida--resigned 1/27/ GRACE MENG, New York
14 deg. LOIS FRANKEL, Florida
DOUG COLLINS, Georgia TULSI GABBARD, Hawaii
MARK MEADOWS, North Carolina JOAQUIN CASTRO, Texas
TED S. YOHO, Florida
LUKE MESSER, Indiana--5/20/14
SEAN DUFFY, Wisconsin--5/
29/14 noon deg.
Amy Porter, Chief of Staff Thomas Sheehy, Staff Director
Jason Steinbaum, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio, Chairman
DANA ROHRABACHER, California ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
MATT SALMON, Arizona Samoa
MO BROOKS, Alabama AMI BERA, California
GEORGE HOLDING, North Carolina TULSI GABBARD, Hawaii
SCOTT PERRY, Pennsylvania BRAD SHERMAN, California
DOUG COLLINS, Georgia GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia
LUKE MESSER, Indiana--5/20/14 WILLIAM KEATING, Massachusetts
C O N T E N T S
Mr. Mikkal E. Herberg, Research Director, Energy Security
Program, The National Bureau of Asian Research................. 7
Ms. Jane Nakano, Fellow, Energy and National Security Program,
Center for Strategic and International Studies................. 14
Ms. Diane Leopold, President, Dominion Energy, Dominion.......... 23
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Mr. Mikkal E. Herberg: Prepared statement........................ 9
Ms. Jane Nakano: Prepared statement.............................. 16
Ms. Diane Leopold: Prepared statement............................ 25
Hearing notice................................................... 48
Hearing minutes.................................................. 49
The Honorable Gerald E. Connolly, a Representative in Congress
from the Commonwealth of Virginia: Prepared statement.......... 50
ENERGY NEEDS IN ASIA: THE U.S. LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS OPTION
THURSDAY, MAY 29, 2014
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2 o'clock p.m.,
in room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Steve Chabot
(chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. Chabot. Good afternoon, and welcome to this afternoon's
subcommittee hearing. I want to thank the gentleman from
California, Mr. Bera, for serving as today's ranking member and
also thank our distinguished panel of witnesses here this
afternoon for joining us. We will get to them in just a minute.
This hearing was called to examine the growing need for
liquefied natural gas, LNG, in Asia and the United States' role
in supplying this energy resource to the region. As Asia's
economy continues to rapidly grow, and its population
increases, it will unquestionably drive the demand for energy
ever higher. Countries in the region are looking for
accessible, reliable, and cheap energy, and because of the
natural gas boom here in America, the U.S. is evolving into an
ideal choice to supply countries thirsty for this resource.
If the U.S. chooses to become a net exporter of LNG and it
can manage to reach agreements with major consumers, it will
not only strengthen our strategic alliances but it will also
aid in the recovery of the U.S. economy.
According to the International Energy Association, global
energy demand will increase by 43 percent by 2035 and much of
this rising demand will be due to the growing Asian economies.
China alone is expected to consume two times the amount of
energy as the United States and will account for around 25
percent of the total world energy demand. In Japan, the
Fukushima disaster resulted in a near total shutdown of its
nuclear reactors and as a result, it is now paying some of the
highest prices in the world for LNG--almost $15 per unit last
month--to make up for its energy shortfall.
Due to these rising costs, Japan and India, in particular,
are reviewing potential suppliers of LNG in an effort to obtain
gas that is less expensive than that provided by current
suppliers such as Malaysian, Indonesian, Australian and Qatari
gas, which is linked to the price of oil--U.S. gas is not. It
would seem to me that supplying gas that is not determined by
the price of oil would be considerably beneficial for the Asian
market, as well as for U.S. suppliers. To do this, I believe it
is critical that the administration increase the pace at which
it is working to make U.S. LNG supplies more accessible to
countries such as India and Japan, so that U.S. supplies can
satisfy Asia's increasing demand.
Here in the U.S., we are producing over 70 billion cubic
feet of natural gas per day and by 2017 we may produce more
natural gas than we consume. Net energy imports are expected to
fall to as low as 4 percent by 2040 and according to some
experts, we could be completely energy self-sufficient even
Just a few years ago, the U.S. required LNG import
terminals to relieve our demand for gas; those terminals will
now function as LNG export terminals as they undergo
conversions and companies build their liquefication
capabilities. We currently have a temporary export capacity of
7 billion cubic feet per day but we have the capacity to export
up to 38 billion cubic feet per day if all applications for LNG
export are approved. And not surprisingly, U.S. producers are
lining up to supply the global market with this abundant stock
of LNG where, a large portion of these natural gas supplies
will be sold to countries throughout Asia.
The increase in unconventional energy production has
already resulted in significant benefits for the U.S. economy.
Perhaps one of the greatest impacts of this new energy
abundance is the effect that it has had on domestic employment.
In 2012, over 2 million jobs were either directly or indirectly
the result of unconventional energy production. It also has
decreased the trade deficit by more than $164 billion over the
last 5 years. Manufacturing has been revitalized. Many small
towns in rural regions have experienced a surge in economic
growth. Moreover, the thriving natural gas industry has
afforded the U.S. a strong competitive global advantage. We
should encourage an American competitive edge--particularly in
light of ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Russia's
Supporting LNG exports to Asia--the region with the
greatest future energy demand--should be a crucial component of
this administration's strategic rebalance toward Asia. Ensuring
our allies' and partners' energy security will demonstrate the
U.S.' commitment to the region. Many of my colleagues and I
have insisted that the administration support the rebalance
with tangible actions as opposed to thinly defined
proclamations. Promoting LNG exports is a perfect way to do so.
U.S. LNG also offers a safe and reliable option to
countries in Asia which may otherwise purchase gas from states
that often neglect the rule of law, such as Russia and Iran. In
fact, just last week, China signed a $400 billion deal to
import natural gas from Russia for the next 30 years. This
follows Russia's announcement that it plans to increase its
presence in the Asia-Pacific markets to broaden its exports and
Now is the time for the United States to seriously consider
undertaking a more significant role in Asia's energy markets. A
strong and engaged U.S. economic presence in Asia will ensure
that our regional allies have a reliable access to the energy
supply they need and will help to support our strategic
I think we all look forward to hearing from our
distinguished witnesses this afternoon and I would now like to
yield to Mr. Bera for 5 minutes to make an opening statement.
Mr. Bera. Thank you, Chairman Chabot, and thank you to the
witnesses for being here. This is an incredibly important
conversation for us to have as we start to review our current
positions but then also look at future policies on U.S. energy
security and LNG exports.
We know that demand for LNG exports certainly is steadily
rising partly in--because of the necessity of coming up with
more environmentally friendly fuel sources and we know LNG
produces less emissions and pollutants as compared to the oil
and coal industries.
I also recognize as we debate and look at our policy for
LNG exports that there is an opportunity by increasing exports
to strengthen and stabilize our U.S. allies, and that is an
important component of this discussion at the same time while
reducing our nation's trade deficits.
In addition, as we look at liquid natural gas and look at
natural gas in general we also have to be mindful of the
domestic opportunities that we have here in keeping our energy
prices at a very competitive level, particularly as we set
policies and revive a manufacturing sector here at home. You
know, this energy renaissance does give us a real opportunity
here to revive manufacturing and make us more globally
So that is certainly another component in this. When we
think about what LNG exports can do, you know, I am going to
use an example of one of my colleagues, a close friend, Dr.
Charles Boustany, who represents the Third District in
Louisiana, and here is what it means to his district.
Sempra is one of the three largest LNG export facilities in
Louisiana and it was recently permitted by the Department of
Energy to export to non-FTA countries. The estimates there are
that they will add 130 high-paying direct jobs while retaining
60 existing jobs.
In addition, Sempra will be able to create an additional
610 new permanent jobs along with 3,000 construction jobs
during peak activity. That is not a small amount and certainly
is an important component of this.
That said, as I mentioned before, we have to understand
some of the concerns as we increase LNG exports of the possible
ramifications on gas prices here domestically in the United
States and that does have to be a component of this as well as
the environmental impact that additional LNG production will
As a nation, we have got to be responsible and prudent when
it comes to health and safety standards as well in regards to
energy production. I do believe that we need to move toward a
clean energy future that will protect the health of the our
families and protect our planet.
The increased use of natural gas both in the U.S. and
abroad is one of those components that can help us address our
future environmental concerns and help reduce carbon emissions
that contribute to global warming.
In addition, increased use of natural gas will reduce the
levels of other pollutants and, you know, certainly, will help
us reduce our reliance on coal and can help us with some of our
The path to clean energy will require a skilled labor force
that works together to power a cleaner, more efficient society
and, you know, again, as we debate LNG exports and look at this
from multiple different facets let us certainly keep climate
change in mind, other pollutants in mind.
At the same time, let us make sure we are doing things
strategically both to create domestic jobs and domestic
employments both in the export phase but then also keep
manufacturing in mind.
So I look forward to the testimony of our witnesses and,
certainly, I yield back.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. The gentleman yields back.
The gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Perry, is recognized
for 1 minute to make an opening statement.
Mr. Perry. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you to the
testifiers for being here. Over the past 3 years, just seven of
the applications to export natural gas to non-free trade
agreement countries have received Department of Energy approval
while 23 are still pending.
If all the approved non-FTA projects were constructed and
operating, the United States would be second only behind Qatar
with the most LNG export capacity. Increased natural gas
exports could also put into action the Obama administration's
stated foreign policy goal of a pivot to Asia.
As in Europe, U.S. LNG exports have the potential to weaken
the market power of incumbent LNG providers to Asia such as
Russia by increasing the negotiating power of consumers while
providing a supply that is free from politically-based
Also, increased U.S. exports could provide partners in Asia
and elsewhere a stable supply in the event of further violence
in the Middle East.
With that, I look forward to hearing the testimony and I
Mr. Chabot. The gentleman yields back. The gentleman from
California, Mr. Sherman, who is the ranking member of the
Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee, is
recognized for 1 minute to make an opening statement.
Mr. Sherman. Mr. Chairman, I enjoyed our trip to Asia and
there is one thing I learned from Randy Weber and that is there
are five ports in the 14th Congressional District of Texas and
according to Randy every one of them ought to have an LNG
If we were to grant all the licenses that Randy would
propose, we would raise production of natural gas in the United
States. We would raise the price of the natural gas in the
Our manufacturers would lose the competitive advantage they
have over Asian manufacturers since they are paying about a
third for the natural gas that the Asian manufacturers are.
I mean, the Asian manufacturers, if we exported to Asia,
would see a lower cost of natural gas and would become even
more ferocious competitors.
From an environmental standpoint, if increased natural gas
production displaces coal that is good for global warming. I
have got a lot of environmentalists who think it will simply
displace conservation, that somehow everyone will live like my
friend Ed Begley if only--if only we can stop every energy
production and all energy exports.
Finally, I believe in the full committee there was
considerable discussion of how exporting natural gas to the
Ukraine would be a way to deal with Russia, and I pointed out
then and I should point out here the Japanese and others in
Asia will pay at least 50 percent more for that natural gas
than the Ukrainians are used to paying the Russians for the
So not--so far I have seen no proposals to increase our
U.S. taxes so that we can subsidize Ukrainian purchases of
American natural gas. That being the case, I think that if we
are going to be exporting natural gas it will be within the
jurisdiction of this subcommittee, and I yield back to its
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much. The gentleman yields back.
The gentleman from California, Mr. Rohrabacher, who is the
chairman of the Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats
Subcommittee, is recognized for a minute to make an opening
Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let us
just get this straight. Providing natural gas, whether it is
through LNG or any other way, to people who want to buy it and
need it is not a hostile act toward Russia.
Unfortunately, too many people are basically describing
this within that framework. Increasing the level of energy in
the world and increasing the productivity and the actual--
facilitating the distribution of natural gas or any other
energy source is not hostile toward any one country and in fact
it is increasing the wealth level of all people.
That is why I would suggest that we should be supporting
every effort to increase whether it is liquefied natural gas or
sales to various countries but we should also be supporting the
various pipeline proposals that we see in various parts of Asia
today and we should be, of course, supporting the development
of our own natural gas resources in the United States.
These are all positive things so let us not get too caught
up in the strategic chess game to know that what we are really
talking about is people having more energy to live better
lives, whoever they are.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. The gentleman yields back.
The gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Holding, is
recognized for 1 minute.
Mr. Holding. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As energy demands
rapidly increase in the Asia-Pacific region because of growing
population and manufacturing needs, Asian nations are looking
for any opportunity to import new supplies.
Mr. Chairman, Asia is energy hungry. With the new
technologies unlocking once unrecoverable resources in our
nation, America is energy rich.
With all the talk about our rebalance to Asia, we hear a
lot from the administration about increasing our diplomatic
presence and strengthening our mil-to-mil cooperation with our
Increasing our energy ties specifically through export of
LNG should be at the forefront of the rebalance discussion
given the geopolitical implications. I look forward to this
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today about
the unique position we are in right now to expand our LNG
exports to Asia.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you, and the Chair thanks all the members
for their opening statements. I thought every one of them was
quite good and I will now introduce the panel here this
We will begin with Mikkal E. Herberg, who is the research
director of National Bureau of Asian Research's Energy Security
Program. He is also a senior lecturer at the Graduate School of
International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of
California, San Diego. Previously, Mr. Herberg spent 20 years
in the oil industry in strategic planning roles for ARCO where
he was director for global energy and economics. He also headed
country risk analysis and was responsible for advising
executive management on risk conditions and investment
strategies in regions where ARCO had major investments. Prior
to that, he worked as the director of portfolio risk management
and director for emerging markets at ARCO. Mr. Herberg writes
and speaks extensively on Asian energy issues, the energy
industry, governments and major research institutions globally
and we welcome you here this afternoon.
I would next like to introduce Jane Nakano, who is a fellow
in the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies. Her areas of research
include energy security issues in Asia, global nuclear energy
trends and global natural gas market dynamics. Prior to joining
CSIS, she was with the Department of Energy and served as the
lead staff on U.S. energy engagements with China and Japan. She
was responsible for coordinating Department of Energy
engagement in Asia and she has worked extensively with China,
Japan, Indonesia, North Korea and the Asia Pacific Economic
Previously, she served at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo as
special assistant to the energy attache. Ms. Nakano holds a
bachelor's degree from Georgetown University School of Foreign
Service and a master's degree from Columbia University School
of International and Public Affairs. We welcome you here this
Finally, we have Diane Leopold, who served as president of
Dominion Energy since January of this year. Previously, she
held management roles in several business units. Most recently,
she worked as senior vice president of Business Development and
Generation Construction and senior vice president of Dominion
Transmission. Prior to her work with Dominion, she has held
several engineering positions at Potomac Electric Power
Company. Ms. Leopold sits as a vice president of the board of
trustees of the Virginia Commonwealth University Foundation and
is also a member of the board of directors of the Interstate
Natural Gas Association of America. She received her bachelor's
degree in mechanical and electrical engineering from the
University of Sussex and a master's degree in electrical
engineering from George Washington University. She also holds
an MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University and we welcome you
here this afternoon, Ms. Leopold.
I am sure that the witnesses are probably familiar with our
5-minute rule. Each of you will have 5 minutes to testify. A
yellow light should come on when you have about a minute to
wrap up, then the red light comes on. If you could wrap up as
quickly as possible, we would greatly appreciate it.
Mr. Herberg, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF MR. MIKKAL E. HERBERG, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, ENERGY
SECURITY PROGRAM, THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF ASIAN RESEARCH
Mr. Herberg. Thank you, Chairman Chabot, Ranking Member
Bera, distinguished members of the subcommittee. Thank you for
inviting me to share my views on prospects for U.S. LNG
supplies to Asia.
It is hard to overstate how important LNG is to the energy
and economic outlook in Asia. Asia is two-thirds of the global
LNG market. Japan alone is more than one-third of the global
LNG meets 100 percent of Japan's natural gas needs as well
as South Korea, Taiwan, key allies in the region. So LNG looms
very large in Asia's economic future so I think the U.S.
opportunity to supply large amounts of LNG is, you know, the
It helps allies, provides more supplies, reduces the
potential for single suppliers or few suppliers to dominate the
marketplace and in a lot of ways it is--you know, it is clean
energy. Places like China and India so dependent on coal, we
need to do everything we can to encourage more natural gas use
So I think this is one of those really positive
opportunities we have. Lots of supplies heading toward Asia
from a variety of places. Australia is gearing up to become the
largest LNG exporter very soon by the end of the decade.
Russia--probably two big projects will come online in
Russia in the next 10 years, although that is subject to a lot
of Kremlin politics, East Africa offshore and, of course, the
U.S. supplies are already benefiting Asia. There were huge
projects coming online from Qatar in 2009, 2010 and 2011 that
were destined for the U.S. market, which we thought was going
to be a large LNG importer.
Well, that gas not coming here was available to meet
Japan's increased needs in the wake of the Fukushima crisis.
Otherwise, Japan's problem and Asia's LNG problem would have
been much, much worse than it turned out to be. So we are
already--we are already benefiting the region.
This issue of the supply in the U.S. domestic market, at
$4.50 gas prices here and transported to Asia we are talking
about $10 or $11 LNG supplies from the U.S. into Asia. That
looks good when $15 is the current LNG price.
But all you have to do is raise U.S. domestic gas prices by
a little bit and reduce Asian LNG prices by a little bit and at
$12 or $13 it becomes a wash. So in a sense the market--
shipping to Asia will be limited in effect by the marketplace
at--probably at a relatively modest U.S. domestic natural gas
price. I think that is an important element to keep in the
The key beneficiaries, clearly, will be Japan, South Korea.
Japan has contracts already for 17 million tons of U.S. LNG in
the current projects. They are partners in four of the largest
They are desperately looking forward to increased supplies
from the U.S. both as an incremental supply, as a
diversification to a secure supply source as well as the
introduction of Henry Hub market flexible pricing into this
very rigid oil-linked pricing system for LNG in Asia. That is
what gets you $15, $16, $17 LNG prices today.
So the introduction of the new pricing mechanism is
critical to the Asian LNG consumers, particularly Japan and
South Korea. So I think it is important that both of them will
benefit tremendously from the additional supply and, obviously,
these are key strategic partners in Asia and I think that is a
very direct benefit and strengthen our ties.
It is not an accident that LNG exports to Japan were
mentioned in the most recent visit of President Obama to Japan.
It is critical on their list. I think the best way to bolster
the impact of our LNG exports is largely let the market works
maximize the amount of LNG going to Asia and maximize the
development of shale gas development here in the U.S.
Of course, with the proper regulatory safeguards I think
that is critically important. It means lower prices,
diversified supplies and other benefits for the region.
And it is probably going to be a very important potential
benefit relationships both with India and China. China is going
to be a huge LNG importer in the future and some of this gas--
LNG will make its way to China.
One final point--more gas, more LNG to Asia--the gas--the
LNG market is not a global market. It is a highly regionalised
market. But as our gas goes to Asia in significant supplies,
that is going to at the margin displace swing producer LNG from
places like Qatar and West African LNG producers and that gas
is going to eventually make its way to Europe.
So indirectly that gas can feed into a more diversified LNG
and gas supply in Europe and we all know those issues related
to Europe's heavy dependence on Russia. It is not one to one.
Europe has to get their pipeline system straightened out
because you cannot wheel gas around the region effectively
given the pipeline constraints and national monopolies.
That is important for Europe to get straightened up. But
our supplies will displace and shift supplies toward Europe and
I think that is critically important. So I will stop with that.
I think we have got a lot of benefits that can come from
this. With the proper regulation of the shale gas development
we have an opportunity to really be an important source of gas
and energy security to Asia.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Herberg follows:]
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much.
Ms. Nakano, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF MS. JANE NAKANO, FELLOW, ENERGY AND NATIONAL
SECURITY PROGRAM, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL
Ms. Nakano. Good afternoon, Chairman Chabot, Ranking Member
Bera and members of the subcommittee. Thank you for the
opportunity to testify about the future of liquefied natural
gas demand in Asia and the role of U.S. LNG supplies.
It is an honor to appear before the subcommittee and
address this very important topic. In the interests of time, I
will provide a brief overview of my written testimony and look
forward to providing more detail during the question and answer
Even before the U.S. LNG shipments to Asia begin later this
decade, the ascent of the United States as a major natural gas
producer has already demonstrated U.S. strengths to the
For example, during the supply uncertainty after the
Fukushima nuclear crisis, the Persian Gulf gas supplies once
destined for the United States prevented a serious supply
shortage in Asia.
Also, by delivering a range of macroeconomic benefits, the
robust development of shale gas together with tight oil has
dampened the United States in decline narrative that emerged
after the economic recession of 2008, especially in China.
Moreover, the U.S. new energy posture is starting to defuse the
geopolitical undertone in Japan's energy relationship with
The most likely U.S. bilateral relationship to benefit from
U.S. LNG supplies is, in my judgment, U.S.-Japan. U.S. LNG
supplies would help Japan address its post-Fukushima energy and
economic security challenges and the improved economic health
of Japan, a key U.S. ally in the region, in turn would further
U.S. ability to advance national security objectives in Asia.
Also, in terms of volume, Japan will likely be the largest
buyer of U.S. LNG. Japan's large LNG import capacity, the
uncertainty over nuclear energy and its robust investment
commitment in U.S. shale and U.S. export projects support my
judgment. Specifically, about a quarter of the U.S. LNG exports
approved to date is expected to go to Japan.
One country in Asia that serves as a significant variable
is China, which is forecast to overtake South Korea as the
second largest global LNG importer by 2020. However, its
domestic shale gas potential, the future volume of pipeline gas
import from Central Asia and Russia and the notable absence of
Chinese investment commitment in U.S. LNG export projects
render it difficult for me to envision China becoming one of
the largest importers of U.S. LNG.
As remarkable as the effects of the U.S. shale gas
revolution are, there is an inherent danger in extrapolating
that LNG resources accord significant geopolitical leverage to
the United States.
There is a limit to which privately-held and market
allocated resources such as oil and gas could be successfully
employed to deliver a specific geopolitical or strategic
Furthermore, caution is warranted in extrapolating the
extent to which U.S. LNG supplies may fundamentally alter the
energy relationships between importer countries in Asia and
their traditional gas suppliers.
First, by early next decade the Asian LNG market is
expected to see new volumes of supplies from new LNG projects
in places like Australia and fierce competition may emerge
among LNG suppliers. The pace of U.S. LNG export approval
greatly influences the degree to which the U.S. LNG supplies
can gain a foothold in Asia.
Second, as a series of U.S. export projects come to
fruition later this decade, the price differential between U.S.
and non-U.S. gas supplies may narrow to the extent that the
economic benefit from U.S. LNG may be negligible.
Third, energy export is central to the economic health of
many of the traditional supplier countries and many Asian
stakeholders believe that the centrality of energy revenue
combined with their vast resource levels continue to make them
reliable trade partners.
Finally, there are factors exogenous to the U.S. energy
posture that are likely to greatly influence the level of LNG
exports from Qatar and Malaysia in the future.
A range of factors renders it difficult to forecast the
trajectory of future LNG demand outlook for individual
countries in Asia or the future composition of LNG suppliers to
Yet the United States has an important role to play for the
greater security of energy supply in Asia and around the world
by continuing to espouse principles such as free trade and
transparency that are essential for the sound working of the
international energy marketplace and the resultant free flow of
oil and gas.
The stability that U.S. LNG supplies can induce and/or
enhance in Asia is an understated yet significant asset that
can underpin the continued U.S. leadership in the region.
Thank you for your time and opportunity to address the
subcommittee. I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Nakano follows:]
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much.
Ms. Leopold, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF MS. DIANE LEOPOLD, PRESIDENT, DOMINION ENERGY,
Ms. Leopold. Thank you and good afternoon, Chairman Chabot,
Ranking Member Bera and members of the subcommittee. Thank you
for the opportunity to appear before the subcommittee.
I am here today because of Dominion Cove Point. This is an
LNG import terminal that has been located on the Chesapeake Bay
in Maryland for nearly 40 years. Thanks to the recent and
growing abundance of natural gas supplies in the United States,
LNG imports to the U.S. have nearly come to a halt.
Where Cove Point used to unload about 85 LNG tankers a
year, we now can go months without one. The story is much the
same at most other U.S. import terminals. Rather than a
business disaster, however, we see a once in a generation
opportunity. It is a significant opportunity for the United
States to benefit economically, environmentally and
Dominion plans to invest nearly $4 billion in Cove Point to
add export capabilities, primarily equipment to liquefy natural
gas delivered by an existing pipeline. Ours is one of more than
40 proposed LNG export projects in the U.S.
For a variety of reasons, however, many experts believe
that ours will be one of only about half a dozen to be built.
Numerous studies have quantified the positive impacts that LNG
exports will have on the U.S. economy. Even just a handful of
LNG export terminals will create many thousands of construction
jobs, hundreds of permanent jobs at the terminals.
There will also be thousands more jobs in the manufacturing
of the equipment. Once operational, the terminals will support
tens of thousands of additional jobs throughout the supply
chain of producing, processing and transporting natural gas to
Billions of dollars of new tax revenue will flow to
Federal, state and local economies and the U.S. trade deficit
will be reduced by tens of billions of dollars annually.
In searching for customers, we literally circled the world.
Ultimately, we signed 20-year contracts with Sumitomo, a
Japanese global trading company, and GAIL, one of the largest
natural gas companies in India and majority owned by the
Sumitomo, in turn, contracted with Tokyo Gas and Kansai
Electric to serve the needs of their respective customers
within Japan. Japan needs natural gas for power generation to
help make up for the closure of its entire nuclear fleet
following the Fukushima disaster.
India, the fifth largest importer of LNG, needs it largely
for power generation, often supplanting coal and to support the
country's rapidly growing economy.
Given the global competition to support these markets, it
is unlikely the U.S. will be able to supply the lion's share of
LNG demand for India or Japan. Our facility will only produce a
sliver of global demand. But that was fine with our business
What both customers told us was that they wanted a stable,
secure, reliable source of LNG as an important part of their
portfolio. This was not only because the U.S. offered a
plentiful reliable source of natural gas itself but also
because the natural gas was coming from a key political ally.
Both countries are focused on energy security and creating
a diverse portfolio of supply sources. In addition, they wanted
a market where they could buy natural gas at a price not linked
to oil. That is why they turned to the United States and
At the same time, the exports will not have a significant
impact on U.S. prices. Export volumes will be relatively small
in comparison to the nation's production capabilities and the
cost of liquefying, transporting and regasifying natural gas is
a total of about $7 per 1,000 cubic feet.
This will allow U.S. manufacturers to keep a significant
price advantage. Natural gas that sells in the U.S. for $4.50
will have a delivered price of $11 to $12 in Asia.
Finally, I would be remiss in not noting that LNG exports
will also have environmental benefits. U.S. natural gas
displacing coal abroad in power production can reduce
greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 50 percent. LNG shipped
from Cove Point alone could reduce global greenhouse gas
emissions by millions of tons each year.
In summary, we believe LNG exports to Asia and the Pacific
will have a significant benefit for the United States and our
It will help the U.S. economy and trade deficit, it will
help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and it will
strengthen the energy security of our allies.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Leopold follows:]
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much, and I will yield to myself
for 5 minutes to begin with the questioning. I would ask any of
the folks who would like to comment to do so, relatively
briefly, if you would.
What U.S. policies or regulations, currently in effect, are
limiting our ability either presently or in the future to do
what we are talking about here today, which is trying to export
more LNG from the U.S., create jobs here and improve our trade
to Asia? I open that up to anybody that would like to take it.
Mr. Herberg. Well, I don't think there is too much magic in
this. I think it is--you know, we need to encourage the gas
production side. I mean, think about this.
The Marcellus gas field is--within a year or two will
become the largest natural gas-producing field in the world,
larger than North Dome Qatar field, the west Siberian oil and
So we have this enormous capacity to increase gas
production. So I think policies that will encourage effective
regulation, which provides public confidence that shale gas
drilling can be done environmentally--in an environmentally
sound way, that is a critical part of this to increase shale
And, obviously, the permitting process, the environmental
process, Department of Energy, FERC--this whole process is
really a very long process that could be speeded up, I believe,
and the market opportunity is there. It is an intense
competitive environment. So I think those are the kinds of
things that would make this happen faster.
Mr. Chabot. Okay. Thank you.
How has the Japanese evolving energy policy since Fukushima
impacted their ability, interest, or their need to get more
natural gas from us, and where are they now? Because
immediately there was this almost knee jerk reaction we are
going to shut them all down and that, apparently, has evolved
to maybe we will shut some down, not others. Who would like to
take that? Ms. Nakano.
Ms. Nakano. Thank you for the question.
Prior to the Fukushima, Japan did have a fairly diversified
energy profile where nuclear supplied about a third of its
power generation and then fossil fuel had probably about 50
percent. They were looking at renewables combined, including
hydro power as well.
Nuclear was definitely central to their energy security
strategy. But Fukushima very much changed the environment--both
political environment but then also technically the 54 nuclear
reactors had to come offline. And so the idea to promote the
use of nuclear in its domestic power mix had to be
Prior to--again, prior to Fukushima the idea was to
increase its share of nuclear to about 50 percent of its power
generation. So following Fukushima, the Japanese turned to
cheaper sources of natural gas but particularly the U.S. They
do have a long-standing business relationship with countries
such as Qatar, Australia and also Russia supplies about 10
percent of their import needs.
But the United States looked particularly attractive to the
Japanese because of the gas-to-gas competition--deregulated gas
prices within the United States. Looking forward, their energy
policy making is very much in flux and the national leadership
hopes to come--bring some share of nuclear reactors back
However, the public sentiment or the public anxiety over
the safety of existing nuclear reactors still runs quite high.
There are a couple court challenges that are in the way of
companies and also their nuclear regulatory body to restart
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. Let me cut you off there, if I can.
I have a little less than 1 minute left and I wanted to get one
more question in.
Trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or
TPP, cover a wide range of issues. My question is, what is the
potential impact of TPP on U.S. LNG exports and trade in the
Ms. Leopold, do you want to take that since--you could have
answered the other ones.
Ms. Leopold. I could have answered the other one as well as
these--or this one.
Mr. Chabot. All right. Well, who would like to take this
one? Mr. Herberg.
Mr. Herberg. Well, in terms of the Japanese market, all
these approvals of non-FTA export arrangements in a sense makes
the TPP moot in the sense of LNG exports, I believe. There is
not any really specific elements of that.
Assuming--you know, so Japan, South Korea is a free trade
agreement partner so there is no issue there. These approvals
have covered many other places like India and elsewhere that
are non-free trade agreement countries.
So I think from the Japanese perspective particularly, they
see the TPP as something that is enshrines--in a sense
enshrines the durability of U.S. commitments to export LNG
because there is a little bit of worry that we might--if U.S.
gas prices really spike in the future, that there be a domestic
debate about cutting back on those LNG exports even though they
have been approved. There is some concern of that on the
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. And I will conclude that arguably,
if TPP ultimately does get approved on all sides and it does
increase the trade opportunities, the economies will hopefully
thrive and grow, and therefore there will naturally be more of
a need for energy to feed that growing economy. As a result,
hopefully we will be able to export more gas to the region.
I will cut myself off there and now recognize the gentleman
from California, Ranking Member Mr. Bera, for 5 minutes.
Mr. Bera. Thank you, Chairman Chabot.
Mr. Herberg, you just touched on, I think, the complexity
of balancing our domestic needs and domestic advantages that
this LNG and energy revolution that is happening here in the
United States offers us but balancing that with, obviously,
some market opportunities abroad.
Let me make sure I got the pricing correct here. Our
domestic price currently is about $4.50. The current Asian
market price is about $15.
Is that--so, you know, when I had a chance to visit India
this past summer and chat with some of the Indian
multinationals and as they are making their strategic
manufacturing decisions and so forth, a component in that is as
some of the Asian advantage in lower payroll starts to wane and
payroll goes up--goods that they are manufacturing to sell to
us here domestically they really are factoring in the lower
And as they are building those factories and so forth there
is a real opportunity for us to be very competitive, to--you
know, when you factor in cost of transport from, let us say,
India or China to the United States, costs of higher energy
costs, we need to make sure we don't shoot ourselves in the
foot here when we have this policy.
And I think--I would be curious on your thoughts on that
and I do know there is a benefit here as well because there are
market opportunities overseas. So Mr. Herberg.
Mr. Herberg. I mean, this is, obviously, an important part
of the discussion and I think it is important to be balanced.
But it is also important, I think, to understand the market
dynamics of this because, yes, you have $15, $16 LNG prices
today in Asia.
But in effect that is an aberration. That started in 2009
and accelerated to 2011 with the Fukushima. Remember Japanese
LNG demand went from 70 million tons to 90 million tons in 2
years. That was a shock on the demand side in the Asian LNG
Now, if you look forward to 2015, 2020, 2022, you are going
to have a lot of LNG coming to Asia from Australia, Russia, the
U.S., elsewhere. I think there is a prevailing view in the
industry that LNG prices are likely to come back down toward a
more normal range of, say, $13--$12, $13.
Now, U.S. gas prices--up to about $6 you got $6 or $6.50
liquefaction and transportation. At about $12 or $13 LNG prices
in Asia and $6 gas in the U.S. the investment decision to send
gas--LNG to Asia becomes a wash. So in effect it is partly
self-limiting and, you know, $6 gas here is not as good as
But I think it is still wildly cheap on a global
competitive basis. And so I think the market dynamics are
important to understand here.
Mr. Bera. I just want to make sure that this is a major
component, you know, particularly where in my home state of
California we are still grappling with 8 percent unemployment
and you are still--you know, we have seen decades of loss of
manufacturing jobs and there really is an opportunity for us to
revive on a manufacturing basis here in the United States.
Certainly, again, we don't want to lose the market
opportunities overseas as well and there is--certainly, with
our allies we certainly want to help support them. But at the
same time, we don't want to sacrifice this competitive
advantage. Ms. Leopold, did you want to add?
Ms. Leopold. Yes. The two things that I would add is, as
Mr. Herberg had discussed--Marcellus and the fact that it is
growing--the supply is there.
There is a very large surplus and technology is continuing
to improve to increase the economic recoverable reserves here.
So there is ample gas right now to meet these market needs. And
I will echo that the international market is somewhat self-
There is a lot of international competition to meet these
LNG supplies such as Australia and others that at a certain
natural gas price the competitive advantage of having the $4.50
gas goes away. If natural gas prices go up too much they will
Mr. Bera. So let us stick with this line of--you know, let
us say prices in Asia normalize and come down to the $12 or
$13. So if I am sitting at my natural gas company here
domestically there is going to be overwhelming pressure to say,
you know, I can sell here domestically at $6 or to Asian
markets at $13.
We do have to be very conscious that, you know, that is
going to be a very compelling drive, that we don't want to
sacrifice this real potential to revive the manufacturing base
here in America. So I will just inject that into the
conversation. Thank you.
Mr. Herberg. Could I just make one quick comment? I have
told my friends in Japan very often Henry Hub U.S. flexible
pricing is no guarantee of low LNG prices because, you know,
there is the U.S. market issue.
But even with that, in a sense we will be wildly
competitive even in that scenario. You can't go below $12 or
$13 in Asia because you can't get it--nobody can really deliver
it in there for less than that, given that huge transportation
issue, and Europe is stuck at $9 or $10.
So we are still going to have a huge competitive advantage
in, I think, in what you can call a worst case.
Mr. Chabot. Gentleman's time has expired. The gentleman
from Pennsylvania, Mr. Perry, is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Perry. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will start out with
Mr. Herberg and your comments regarding Marcellus shale. Being
from Pennsylvania, I will note not from shale country but still
One of the--we have a governor's race going on and one of
the candidates has--that is running for governor has proposed
an extraction tax now. Pennsylvania currently does not have an
extraction tax. They have got an impact fee associated with the
drilling and the production, pipelines, et cetera.
The extraction tax potentially--I guess potentially,
depending on the size of it or the amount of it would--but
would it make--you talked about the Marcellus shale field being
the largest, potentially, in the world or it will the largest
in the world.
It is not going to change the fact that the size is there
but is it going to be--is that extraction tax going to be a
deterrent to development in Pennsylvania?
Mr. Herberg. You know, I don't know, you know, the scale
that they are talking about for that so I don't want to get
myself in trouble. Any incremental, you know, load on the total
capital costs and operating costs of a project is going to
affect somewhat the drilling. I think it all depends on the
scale of that.
I would just say one important issue is to deal with the
local impacts of shale gas drilling. This is a very intensive
industrial process. It has huge community impacts on roads and
water supplies, and I think in some places there is real
imbalance between where some benefits of the revenues from that
are going and whether that is getting to these areas that are
being directly affected by the operation, which are
So I think it is important for the governments to find ways
to make sure these local areas are getting, you know, a share
of the revenues to take care of some of the increased costs for
all kinds of things that come out of this process.
Mr. Perry. Okay. Ms. Leopold--did I say that right? Okay.
Leopold. Sorry about that. Would you say that U.S. prices are
artificially low? Just curious.
Ms. Leopold. No, I would not say they are artificially low.
I would say the market is working. There is plentiful supply
and our natural gas prices are lower than elsewhere because we
can economically drill lower.
Mr. Perry. Okay. So there has been--based on that, there
has been some supposition even among members of the panel here
that exporting more or exporting to a greater degree natural
gas, LNG, CNG, is going to absolutely without question increase
our prices here.
Is there--what is the validity to that claim and are there
any facts and figures? Because I didn't hear any here on that
side of the argument but you might have some counter.
Ms. Leopold. The one thing I can say is that rigs have
continued to pull back because natural gas prices are low and
it is not enough for the producers to be profitable. So with
natural gas prices coming up, more drilling can occur, which
increases the supply.
Mr. Perry. And increased supply equals what?
Ms. Leopold. Well, there is not enough demand.
Mr. Perry. I mean, if you used the principle of supply and
Ms. Leopold. Right.
Mr. Perry. I mean, so it should equal----
Ms. Leopold. Lower prices.
Mr. Perry. Thank you. Okay. So you got that. All right.
Are there any main concerns with the DOE's process for
export approval to non-FTA countries and can you provide any
examples of when an approval was denied based on public
interest? Anybody on the panel.
Mr. Herberg. I don't know of any, no.
Mr. Perry. Okay. How about otherwise? Other than public
Mr. Herberg. I don't believe any have been denied. A couple
of them they have approved a lesser volume than was applied
Mr. Perry. And what is the point of that? Can you--if you
know. What is the point of doing that? Why would they--why
would they approve a lesser volume?
Ms. Leopold. Cove Point had a lesser volume because it
matched the volume that we applied for in our Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission application. So the DOE just went to sync
with what we requested in that application after our design
work was complete.
Mr. Perry. So it could do more but it has just not because
that was the application and at that point is that--that is not
necessarily the government's fault if there is a fault? That is
what you applied for?
Ms. Leopold. Correct.
Mr. Perry. Okay. In India, with infrastructure investments
needed in order to effectively receive and distribute large
volumes of LNG or what infrastructure--do you know what--
because that is an emerging market? Do you have an indication?
It is a large emerging market.
Mr. Herberg. They suffer from a lack of natural gas
pipeline capacity and infrastructure, port LNG terminal
capacity and, most importantly, they maintain energy prices.
They administer and control energy prices and hold them so
low for natural gas that more expensive LNG coming into the
market can't find a home and that really limits the ability to
really raise natural gas consumption in India. They need to--
they need to deal with price reform domestically to get the
Mr. Perry. They need to let the market dictate the----
Mr. Herberg. They need to let the market work a little
more. It is a wildly administered system.
Mr. Perry. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. The gentleman's time has expired.
The gentleman from California, Mr. Sherman, is recognized for 5
Mr. Sherman. EPA just announced some regulations that the
chamber says are going to shut down all the coal electric
plants in the United States.
That may be a bit overdrawn but do the analyses that our
witnesses provide reflect that regulation assume that it is
going to be implemented and that there is going to be a
substantial increase in U.S. demand for non-coal generated
Mr. Herberg. I can't say. It is something I work on very
much but I----
Mr. Sherman. So we could see a situation--you have told us
that the price in the United States is $4.50. That could go to
$6.50 just as a result of today's regulations and that the
natural--use for natural gas is to generate electricity and it
is competition with coal. So if that were true we could cancel
the hearings. But let us go on.
Now, Mr. Herberg, you basically have given us some prices
in Asia, prices in the United States. I interpret from that
that you are saying it costs about $6.50 a unit to liquefy it,
ship it and deliquefy it or return it to a gaseous state.
Is that pretty much the same whether you are shipping to
Asia or you are shipping to Europe? Europe is a little shorter
distance. Is the real cost in the liquefication and the
gasification or is the real cost--or is there a substantial
cost per mile?
Mr. Herberg. The largest share would be liquefaction. Maybe
Dominion would talk about that more.
Ms. Leopold. Very roughly, in the total of $7 range, $3
would be the liquefaction, $3 would be the shipping to Asia and
$1 would be the regasification.
Mr. Sherman. Okay. So the--so it would be a little cheaper
to send. One public policy position we could take is to give
licenses if you want to ship to Ukraine or to European
pipelines that could then reverse flow to Ukraine but not to
I am not sure that that is the right public policy. Are any
of you aware of any economic--I mean, the studies from the U.S.
Department of Energy say if we allow unfettered export we are
going to see a one-third increase in natural gas prices.
Are any of you aware of any economic studies as to what
effect that has on the competitiveness of our manufacturing and
fertilizer plants? How many jobs do we lose when we start
paying $6, $7 a unit rather than $4.50 a unit for natural gas?
Anybody aware of any studies on that?
Mr. Herberg. No, I haven't seen any but----
Mr. Sherman. I think we would also see, of course, a slight
reduction in the cost of LNG in Asia, which would make our
competitors just a little bit more competitive. I think the
effect there would be a little less.
The background memo that our staff provided for this
hearing describes the United States as currently an importer of
natural gas and that we will shift to a net exporter only by
Is that accurate and who is--which foreign countries are
willing to sell us LNG--are willing to sell us natural gas at a
price so low that we can keep prices at $4.50?
Mr. Herberg. Canada.
Mr. Sherman. Canada.
Mr. Herberg. Yes, and----
Mr. Sherman. And so what we could see is the Canadians will
get tired of selling us natural gas at $4.50 and decide to
build their own liquefication and send it and it wouldn't
Is there substantial discussion of liquefication or
liquefaction in Canada and would that also be a reason to
cancel the hearings on the theory that if all the Canadian
natural gas goes to Asia there is no economic reason to send
U.S. natural gas?
Mr. Herberg. Well, the--yes, there are a number of LNG
projects proposed on the British Columbia coast and even in the
east for LNG from Canada. But I think, again, this is kind of a
At $3, Canadian gas backed up into Canada was net backing
to the point where investment collapsed in natural gas
development in China--I mean, in Alberta for a while but at
$4.50 the incentives start working back. But they are seeing
their market basically absorbed by this huge expansion in U.S.
So yes, they have to look elsewhere for long-term future
markets. But, again, if the U.S. price rises then that is going
to pull Canadian gas in and this is a huge system they have
built. So it is partly market self-limiting.
Mr. Sherman. I am--I think I would support export if I knew
that that would get us more jobs in the energy industry than it
would cost us in those industries that use the comparatively
cheap natural gas that is being used in manufacturing and
And, Mr. Chairman, in spite of all those comments about
cancelling the hearing I am very glad you are having this
hearing and I yield back.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. I am glad we have your approval. The
gentleman from California now is recognized for 5 minutes, Mr.
Mr. Rohrabacher. How much natural gas is used to produce
fertilizer? Do you know? We don't. My gosh. It is a substantial
amount of natural gas is used to produce fertilizer? But we do
know a substantial amount of fertilizer is used to produce
I mean, you can't have fertilizer without natural gas,
right? Or can you? Unless you got a lot of horses and cows
around. Then it is another kind of gas.
Mr. Herberg. The bulk uses power generation. Industrial
petrochemicals feedstocks is where most gas goes--industrial
use, boilers. So it is not a huge portion that would be
fertilizer but I--you know, I couldn't give you a----
Mr. Rohrabacher. How much of natural gas then goes to just
energy, like electricity production?
Mr. Herberg. That would be the bulk of it. I mean, that
would be the largest share and even industrial processes you
are doing heat--you know, using gas for heat generation, plant
operations, things like that. That is energy indirectly so a
large share of it. I don't have the numbers in front of me.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Yes, I would sure like to know some of
those statistics. Also, natural gas--someone told me that you
now can turn natural gas into diesel fuel?
Mr. Herberg. Mm-hmm. Yes.
Mr. Rohrabacher. What is the cost of that?
Mr. Herberg. Very high, relatively. They are doing that
kind of thing in Qatar because they have an enormous surplus of
natural gas--gas to liquids, you call it.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Right.
Mr. Herberg. Shell has a project. Malaysia has a project.
But it is a pretty expensive thing. It produces very clean
diesel and gasoline but at a very, very high cost relative to
today's kind of prices.
Mr. Rohrabacher. There is--I was just notified a few weeks
ago about a business that was going to try to capture the
burning--the flare-off gas in North Dakota and would then use
it to produce diesel gas. Do you think that maybe that would be
Mr. Herberg. In small--in small kind of niche areas. You
have a huge bunch of gas being produced in North Dakota that
there is no pipeline capacity--take-away capacity for it so it
So if it is zero value gas essentially because it is going
to be flared, you can make sense out of that economically to
produce diesel or products----
Mr. Rohrabacher. Okay.
Mr. Herberg [continuing]. Even though at a normal kind of
process where you are paying market price for natural gas it
wouldn't make sense.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Okay. How much natural gas is Australia
Mr. Herberg. They are exporting about 25 million tons a
year of LNG from the Northwest Shelf--mainly Northwest Shelf
Mr. Rohrabacher. Exactly how much are they producing? We
don't know how much actually they are producing.
Mr. Herberg. It is a small gas market, in effect, for
Australia. You know, it is just a bunch of cities around this--
Mr. Rohrabacher. Right. But I understand that there has
been new oil and gas finds in Australia that are massive. Is
Mr. Herberg. Yes. There is seven large gas projects being--
LNG projects being built as we speak in Australia--seven--for
well over 50 million tons of LNG that will come on stream from
2015 to 2022 or so--huge.
Mr. Rohrabacher. So we are talking about huge new things in
the United States but also our friends there to the south and
Australia will become a major new force on the market in making
all these calculations.
Mr. Herberg. Absolutely.
Mr. Rohrabacher. And I also understand that in Australia
that they have discovered some kind of--a great water source
underneath the ocean. Is that correct?
So anyway, I just--I was reading some scientific journals
where apparently there has been--underneath their ocean they
have found a freshwater ocean. That would be--but you don't
know anything about that?
Mr. Herberg. No.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Well, let me just say that fertilizer, and
we have all of these products and as I said in my opening
remarks we are talking about the amount of wealth that exists
in the world and we should applaud the increase in wealth and
applaud anything that would facilitate the distribution of
wealth in a more efficient way because this is what will
hopefully uplift the human condition.
So thank you very much for your information today to put
into our little equations that we make here. Thank you.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you very much.
The gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Collins, is recognized for
Mr. Collins. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just have a few
questions and just open up for the panel anybody that would
like. Surveys suggest that the growth in LNG demand is mainly
concentrated in China and South Korea.
There is some other--along with some other southeast Asian
markets. Which countries are the greatest, largest potential
recipients of U.S. LNG exports and which countries offer the
greatest mutual benefit for U.S. strategic interest in this
Ms. Nakano. In my judgment, Japan will be the largest buyer
of U.S. LNG supplies. Japan already does have a large import
receiving capacity. But then also, unlike China, Japan does not
have the option of importing gas--natural gas by pipelines.
And also the current investment commitment into the U.S.
LNG both upstream but then also export projects suggest that
they will take about a quarter of the amount--the cumulative
amount from the seven projects that have been approved to date
to non-FTA countries.
Mr. Collins. So Japan--from your position Japan stands with
its capacity and also its infrastructure that is already in
place would be the natural beneficiary in this?
Ms. Nakano. Yes, and China certainly has a potential to
become a large or one of the leading global LNG importers but
that doesn't mean that they will be necessarily turning to the
Mr. Collins. Well, given the interesting political
discussions over the sea and other issues there I think this
provides an interesting conversation.
I do have another question there that sort of is similar.
How does Australia's strong energy export market with China
affect its strategic relationship with the United States and
does Australia see any contradiction between a strong
relationship with China and its strong strategic relationship
with the United States? Or is it all about the business?
Mr. Herberg. They would like--the Australians and the
Chinese would like to keep it all about business. But in the
real world, as Australia's economy both in energy and minerals
becomes more closely linked to Chinese economic prosperity and
markets, there is a discussion in Australia about the balancing
of the U.S. alliance with its growing dependence on China and
this, obviously, looms in the overall kind of contest in Asia
for influence between China and Russia.
So there is a discussion about that in Australia. But
fundamentally Australia remains deeply committed to the U.S.
alliance for now.
Mr. Collins. Well, in light of that let us chase that a
little bit further. If there is a much more--a much heavier
influence of U.S. LNG into this market which would maybe also,
for lack of a better term, undercut or change that dynamic with
Australia and China, do you think that attitude could change in
Australia or would there be a tightening or a shifting of the
geopolitical atmosphere there that could move that a little
Mr. Herberg. No, I think that is a good point. For our
purposes and I think for Australia's, it is important that all
the big suppliers like Australia and others have a very
diversified slate of buyers for their output and that is the
sensible commercial thing to do--have a broad set of buyers
from a whole bunch of different countries and regions.
So I think on the part of Australia they want to keep a
diversified slate. But to the extent we create a more
diversified slate by--with our exports into the region, I think
that is good for all of us in terms of keeping those alliances
Mr. Collins. Well, I think the alliance is in shape. I was
also concerned, and I think it was brought up and I am not
going to go into it here, pricing and issues with domestic
pricing as opposed to what would be found on the international
market, especially with the price disparities that are out
A curious question--you brought this up and it just--it
triggered a thought from me. In looking at the Australia,
Japanese, the Chinese market here in this balance, with Russia
giving and China importing more in from Russia, traditionally
not the closest of allies or friends even in that region, how--
given what we have seen on the more eastern side with Ukraine,
Crimea and the dependence aspect that is over there, could this
be a balance from the U.S. perspective in dealing with China in
this--in this market, a balance to Russia becoming a dominant
player in the Chinese energy market? Is that--how does that
affect the political aspect?
Mr. Herberg. Yes. I think at the margin it does. The more
U.S. LNG in the region, and China doesn't have to be
necessarily a direct buyer of U.S. LNG. If we are going to
Japan then that frees up LNG that China will be buying from
Offshore East Africa will come on after 2020 region. You
got Papua New Guinea. You have got lots of areas of supplies.
So I think our supplies in there create a more diversified mix
and that is a good thing.
The closer Chinese-Russian gas relationship--the gas
pipeline deal that was just signed--by the time that stuff
comes on that will still only represent 10 percent of China's
natural gas consumption.
So I think the Chinese are very careful about diversifying
their supply sources. They are very deliberate about this and
the last thing they want to do is put themselves vulnerable to
Mr. Collins. Well, I am out of time. But, Mr. Chairman, I
would appreciate this conversation because it not only just
takes this with the LNG issue.
This raises what I believe is something that we don't
discuss enough and that is the changing geopolitical influences
of a region that is, one, the largest growing region, the most
populous region, and potentially the most unstable of the
regions in the world whether it be economic, political,
religious, other things going on here.
So I think it has just brought up an interesting point. Mr.
Chairman, I do appreciate it and I yield back.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. The gentleman yields back.
We will go into a second round. I just have a question or
two but I probably won't use the whole 5 minutes. Then if Mr.
Sherman is interested, he can do that as well.
I also wanted to reiterate something that Mr. Sherman
mentioned and that is about our colleague, Randy Weber. When we
were in Asia some months ago, he brought up at every meeting we
had, whether it was Prime Minister Abe, President Park,
President Ma, to everybody from downtown, or to the taxi
drivers, at the places about LNG gas--the importance of it--
specifically, Texas LNG gas. So he was really doing great work
out there trying to export something we have here and trying to
create jobs here. So my hat is off to him for that.
I just had one quick question here and anybody is welcome
to take this. Maritime and territorial disputes in the region,
mostly between China and Japan, China and Vietnam, China and
the Philippines, and China and Taiwan, et cetera--what impact,
if any, could there potentially be on exploration and
development of potential natural gas resources or energy
resources in general in the region? How much of those disputes
have to do with that issue versus fishing rights, and things of
that nature, and actual acquisition of land? What part of it is
energy related? Ms. Nakano, would you like to take it? Thank
Ms. Nakano. Thank you. In my view, energy is not the
driver. Many surveys have indicated that there is somewhat
limited amount of proven oil and gas reserves in East China Sea
or South China Sea.
However, because of these geological--I am sorry,
geopolitical tensions there has not been really satisfactory
amount of surveys done. So it is a bit of a--sort of a, you
know, horse and cart issue.
But I think that the prominence or the importance of places
such as the South China Sea is really that it is--it is where
the--about half of global LNG transits.
So it will remain to be important. But as far as for the
production of resources that may or may not be there, that is
something that I do not think is the main reason why there is a
tension among the countries in that region.
Mr. Chabot. Let me interpret that if I can, or correct me
if I am wrong. You are saying, that in your view, it is not the
driving principal, but since tensions have prevented a lot of
the exploration from taking place, they really don't know how
much is there and it might potentially be a big deal but we
don't really know that at this time, but there may be other
things that are driving instability more than that issue right
now. Is that correct?
Ms. Nakano. Yes, correct. And if I may add quickly, that
from my understanding there are some technical challenges to
exploring the oil and gas resources there or doing a survey
because I understand there is submarine valleys and also very
So there are also sort of technical and sort of geological
challenges associated with further surveys there.
Mr. Chabot. Okay. Thank you. I will yield back my time. If
the gentleman from California has any questions you are
Mr. Sherman. Okay. South Korea has the KORUS agreement and
so you don't have the same approval process that we would to
export natural gas to Japan. Is natural gas cheaper or is it
expected to be cheaper over the next several years in South
Korea than in Japan?
Mr. Herberg. The Japanese prices are much higher than--
domestic gas prices are higher in Japan because they pass
through the cost of these high costs of LNG. In Korea, they
tend to administer prices for gas and oil and coal and
Mr. Sherman. Administer through government subsidy?
Mr. Herberg. Yes. Well, through government price direction
and guidance because remember, you only have----
Mr. Sherman. Well, you can have price correction and
guidance but if you are a utility in South Korea and the price
of LNG is high in part because of Fukushima you can't pay less
on the theory that your government wants you to pay less.
Mr. Herberg. In a very simplistic way, KOGAS, the state gas
company, contracts for the LNG and imports it at world prices
or Asian prices.
Mr. Sherman. Right.
Mr. Herberg. It sells that gas to KEPCO, the state
electricity underwriter. KEPCO is required to keep electricity
prices relatively low for----
Mr. Sherman. Okay. So I shouldn't buy any stock in KEPCO.
Mr. Herberg. KEPCO gets--KEPCO catches it on that because
they are required.
Mr. Sherman. Okay. In any case, looking only at the
wholesale price or the importer's price because you can jack up
electricity prices, subsidize them, whatever, do those who
import that LNG to South Korea pay any less on average than
those who import natural gas to Japan?
Mr. Herberg. No, no. The price----
Mr. Sherman. And so the--it is not like the South Koreans
say great, we have got KORUS, Japan doesn't--they will have to
pay Qatar and Malaysia a lot and we can be the sole Asian
importer of U.S. natural gas. That isn't happening. The South
Koreans are paying as much and signing long-term contracts to
pay as much as the Japanese? Ms. Nakano.
Ms. Nakano. Thank you. South Korea already has investment
into Sabine Pass and that is the one that is already scheduled
to start exporting as early as next year.
Mr. Sherman. They have investment in what again?
Ms. Nakano. Cheniere's Sabine Pass project. That was who--
which got approval back in 2011. So and from what I understand
that contract does include some linkage to Henry Hub price. So
down the road they----
Mr. Sherman. But it is not that, okay, you have got the
U.S. Government screwing up the free market. We limit or
prohibit U.S. exports to Japan. We allow U.S. exports to South
Korea. Therefore, there is a huge differential or a huge
benefit to South Korea.
As far as we know, they are paying and expect to be paying
pretty much per unit the same as the Japanese are paying and
the effect of the U.S. limitation on exports to Japan doesn't
seem to be playing a main effect.
Let us go on to another line of questions and that is I
have dreamt that we--somehow we and the world off of its
addiction to petroleum as a transportation fuel and there is
one production automobile that is powered by compressed natural
gas and its cost per mile, I am told, is half.
I don't know if you are familiar with that statistic and
can reflect on it but to what extent would preventing the
export of natural gas keep prices in this country low enough so
that we will see the development and implementation of natural
Mr. Herberg. You know, it is a complicated relationship
between limiting exports of LNG and the domestic prices.
Mr. Sherman. Right. And you don't know whether your main
effect is to limit production or to limit price.
Mr. Herberg. Yes. You can--you can bottle up the--you know,
the natural gas and get somewhat lower prices but you will also
reduce investment in new supplies, and how that balance works
out is not always very clear.
Mr. Sherman. Is there a lot of natural gas to be developed
in the United States that gets developed at $7 domestic price
but doesn't get developed at $4 domestic price?
Mr. Herberg. Yes, yes. There is a huge transfer of our gas
Mr. Sherman. Is that half of our potential? A quarter of
our potential? Does any of the other witnesses have a comment?
Mr. Herberg. I have seen studies of that. I could try to
Mr. Sherman. Yes. Please provide that for the record
Mr. Herberg. They have a cost curve and my recollection is
that something of 70 percent of the known resources or reserves
out there are producible at $7----
Mr. Sherman. The one question I will ask you to ask--answer
is what will be the effect on total U.S. production if we
eliminate our restrictions on exports.
I believe you have already estimated the price change would
be from around $4.50 to $6.50 but if you can refine that, and I
am going to ask the other witnesses to also provide answers to
the--to record to that to the extent you can be helpful, and I
am going to yield back.
Mr. Chabot. And all the witnesses are nodding their
affirmative response. We thank the gentleman. The gentleman's
time has expired.
I want to thank all the witnesses here this afternoon for
testifying. Members will have 5 days to supplement their
statements or submit questions, and if there is no further
business to come before the committee we are adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3:42 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Record