The U.S.’ ability to export LNG to world markets gives other countries an opportunity to reduce their carbon emission by switching away from coal, American Petroleum Institute (API) Gulf Coast Regional Director Gifford Briggs said during the DUG GAS+ Conference and Expo.

“The Haynesville Shale and natural gas has led to the greatest continued emission reduction in the world here for the United States as we've transitioned away from coal to natural gas power because we've gone from a seven-year supply to a 200 year or more supply of natural gas,” Briggs said during his discussion at the annual two-day Hart Energy event in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Briggs said there have been consistent emissions reductions in the U.S. over the past two decades while emissions in other parts of the world have continued to grow amid their inability to transition away from coal. Natural gas produces about 117 pounds of CO2 per million MMBtu compared with more than 200 pounds of CO2 per MMBtu of coal and more than 160 pounds per MMBtu of distillate fuel oil, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Briggs said the U.S. has an opportunity to continue exporting its emissions reduction success to countries dependent on coal, as many he added continue to add more coal power plants and their emissions continue to rise.

“We have an opportunity with LNG not only to support our allies but to export American environmental progress all over the world,” Briggs said. “When countries move from coal to natural gas and consume American produced LNG, it's good for the environment,” he proclaimed.

On Jan. 26 , the Biden administration announced a “temporary pause on pending [LNG export facility] applications,” which doesn’t apply to already authorized exports or some 48 Bcf/d, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

At recent meetings at CERAWeek by S&P Global in Houston  U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said March 18 that the DOE was conducting a data-based assessment of what further expansion of U.S. exports means “for our climate, for global energy, for national and global security for our allies and for domestic prices.”

U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Daniel Sullivan, who also participated in CERAWeek, argued against Biden’s pause, citing escalating worries from U.S. allies in Asia and Europe about consistent supplies of natural gas as well as U.S. national security concerns.

On the prospects of overturning the so-called Biden pause, Briggs told attendees they’d have to wait until later this year.

“One might think that we would just go ahead and move forward and undo that announcement, but I think we all know that that's not coming at least until Nov. 7,” Briggs said, referring to after U.S. presidential elections are held on Nov. 5.

Critical for Louisiana’s future

Briggs — who oversees legislative and regulatory matters for API — covers the southern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi and sees LNG as vital not just for emissions but for Louisiana.

“When we talk about the impact and the importance of LNG, well, it means a lot to Louisiana, [and] it is really a global issue if we're going to stop developing these facilities,” Briggs said.

Louisiana is home to three LNG export facilities: Sabine, Louisiana: 4.55 Bcf/d (Cheniere/Sabine Pass LNG –Trains 1-6); Hackberry, Louisiana: 2.06 Bcf/d (Sempra–Cameron LNG, Trains 1-3); and Cameron Parish, Louisiana: 1.7 Bcf/d (Venture Global Calcasieu Pass Units 1-9), according to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Briggs said the two most important issues tied to Louisiana’s future included LNG and capture utilization and storage (CCUS).

CCUS involves the capture of CO2 and storage, generally from large point sources like power generation or industrial facilities that utilize either fossil fuels or biomass as fuel, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA). “If not being used on-site, the captured CO2 is compressed and transported by pipeline, ship, rail or truck to be used in a range of applications or injected into deep geological formations such as depleted oil and gas reservoirs or saline aquifers,” according to the IEA.

“The pipeline map of our country runs through Louisiana. It's like the aorta of the heart [and] much of the energy our country consumes, flows through Louisiana,” Briggs said.

“We have the opportunity to be the global leader in LNG. We have the opportunity to be the global leader in CCS here in this great state of Louisiana,” Briggs said.

On Dec. 28, the Environmental Protection Agency signed a final rule granting the state’s request for primary responsibility for the permitting, compliance, and enforcement of Class VI (carbon sequestration), a status commonly known as primacy.


Louisiana ‘Ready to Roll’ After EPA Grants Authority Over CCS Wells

But Briggs acknowledged that Louisiana still faced “a very unique challenge” related to the deployment of CCS, or carbon capture and storage. The state is about to begin to regulate CCS injection wells while at the same time grappling with continued growth in the LNG space.

The Global CCS Institute sees climate science as clear and CCS as a tool for reducing atmospheric CO2, Christina Staib, the institute’s global finance sector lead, told Hart Energy late last year in Houston.

“I think that we are poised to do it and there's so much opportunity for everyone in all sectors of the industry to be able to take advantage of it and to work here in Louisiana,” Briggs said.