President Barack Obama said in Central America on Saturday that the United States might be able to help relieve that region’s growing energy demands by exporting liquefied natural gas, a move opposed by some U.S. businesses and environmentalists.
At a development forum that ended his three-day trip to Mexico and Costa Rica, Obama held out the prospect that surging supplies of natural gas in the United States could be sold in the area to help reduce its energy costs.
Obama’s Energy Department is to decide in the coming months, possibly this summer, whether to approve more than two dozen applications for natural gas exports to companies in countries that do not currently have a free-trade agreement with the United States. It is one of the first big energy decisions he faces early in his second term.
Obama made a case for taking the step. The United States, riding a surge of natural gas production, is likely to be a net natural gas exporter as soon as 2020, he said.
Obama is certainly thinking about using natural gas for geopolitical reasons.
Joseph F. Barone