On September 1, 2017, the Department of Energy (DOE) published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking [FE Docket No. 17–86–R] to revise its regulations to provide that DOE will issue an export authorization upon receipt of any complete application that seeks to export natural gas, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), to countries with which the United States has not entered into a free trade agreement (FTA) requiring national treatment for trade in natural gas and with which trade is not prohibited by U.S. law or policy (non-FTA countries), provided that the application satisfies the following two criteria: The application proposes to export natural gas in a volume up to and including 0.14 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day (Bcf/d), and DOE’s approval of the application does not require an environmental impact statement (EIS) or an environmental assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). In proposing this revision, DOE is interpreting the phrase “public interest” set forth in the Natural Gas Act (NGA). DOE proposes that applications that satisfy these criteria are requesting authorization for “small-scale natural gas exports” and, as such, the exports are deemed to be consistent with the public interest under the NGA. DOE’s regulations regarding notice of applications and procedures conducted on applications would no longer apply to applications that satisfy these criteria. The proposed regulation is intended to expedite DOE’s processing of these applications, thereby reducing administrative burdens for the small-scale natural gas export market.

Public comment on this proposed rule will be accepted until October 16, 2017.