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article imageOp-Ed: Natural gas is now 'freedom gas' says Energy Department

By Karen Graham     May 30, 2019 in Politics
Freeport - The U.S. Department of Energy announced Tuesday it was authorizing new natural gas exports - referring to the gas as "freedom gas," in promoting American energy, American jobs, and the American economy.
The additional exports of domestically produced natural gas will come from the Freeport LNG Terminal located on Quintana Island, Texas. The announcement was made at the Tenth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM10) in Vancouver, Canada where DOE is highlighting its efforts to advance clean energy, reports Business Insider.
"Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America's allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy," Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes said in a statement included in the release.
It was bad enough that Menezes used the term "freedom gas" when describing something that is nothing more than fossil fuel, but then the agency took it a step further, saying freedom gas is made up of molecules of "American freedom."
Aerial view of Freeport LNG facility
Aerial view of Freeport LNG facility
Freeport LNG Development, L.P.
“I am pleased that the Department of Energy is doing what it can to promote an efficient regulatory system that allows for molecules of U.S. freedom to be exported to the world,” said Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steve Winberg.
Actually, the DOE started using the term earlier this month when during a press conference in Brussels, Energy Secretary Rick Perry told reporters, “The United States is again delivering a form of freedom to the European continent. And rather than in the form of young American soldiers, it’s in the form of liquefied natural gas.”
A Euractiv reporter asked Perry if he was essentially describing “freedom gas.” Perry said, “Yes, I think you may be correct in your observation.”
Start of expansion projects
Under the announcement, Freeport LNG Expansion, L.P. and FLNG Liquefaction 4, LLC (together, FLEX4) have authority to export up to 0.72 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas as LNG from a fourth liquefaction train (Train 4) to be built at the Freeport LNG Terminal.
Freeport LNG facility
Freeport LNG facility
Freeport LNG Development, L.P.
FLEX4 is authorized to export this LNG to any country that does not have a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States, and with which trade is not prohibited under U.S. law or policy.
This is a big deal for the Trump administration and its push to make the U.S. a leader in oil and gas production. Actually, LNG exports from the U.S. are already at 5 billion cubic feet per day and are set to double by the end of 2020.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects a continued increase in domestic natural gas production, with an average dry natural gas production rate of 90.3 Bcf/d in 2019 and 92.2 Bcf/d in 2020, both new records.
File photo: LNG - Liquefied Natural Gas tank.
File photo: LNG - Liquefied Natural Gas tank.
LNG - Resources and Education
The dirtier side of freedom gas
Increasing natural gas production and exports requires even more fracking infrastructure and miles of new pipelines. On May 29, Digital Journal reported on a new report by the energy watchdog group, Global Energy Monitor, that details the planned boom in new oil and gas pipeline infrastructure in North America.
The Global Energy Monitor pointed out that the climate crisis has raised awareness around the world to the dangers of increasing our dependence on fossil fuels. And yes, natural gas is a fossil fuel, although it is often called a "bridge fuel" because it is intended to wean us off the more carbon-intensive sources of energy and lower carbon emissions.
But the use of the term "freedom gas" is a bit much for this journalist. Particularly because it sounds more and more like a campaign slogan for Trump. It is no secret that he has been pushing through directives to open up more government lands to gas drilling and is still trying to push through Arctic drilling.
The only freedom coming out of this announcement is that some countries, (as long as they are not sanctioned by the U.S. already, or are not tied into Free Trade Agreements), have the freedom to buy our natural gas. But then again, they can buy it anywhere, can't they?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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