First, I think the U.S. regulatory burden on the energy industry is hampering the economic recovery and, more important, the jobs recovery. It's incredibly stupid that federal, state and local governments do not encourage and facilitate infrastructure development in things like LNG export.
However, it doesn't matter what I think. The Oregon LNG project has "flipped" from an import focus to an export focus. It faces rabid opposition from environmental extremists. On top of that, many politicians are coming out against LNG exports in principle, because LNG exports will theoretically increase the price of natural gas to domestic consumers (in particular, utilities and utility ratepayers).
So I'm not holding my breath on the Oregon project. Seems like another black hole for LUK shareholders.
The Gulf Coast projects seem to be moving along. See recent local news report:
The Gulf Coast projects are distinguishable from Oregon and the failed Illinois project. The local governments in the Gulf Coast region are comfortable with the energy industry and they are hungry to continue expanding local job opportunities. The Department of Energy has a major financing role in the Gulf Coast projects. So LUK isn't just dealing with capricious local bureaucrats. And importantly, LUK is trying to convert natural gas into feedstocks for industrial users (like chemical companies). That seems to be a "politically acceptable" use of natural gas for now.
Any investment that is dependent upon any gov't action for success, should be avoided. In all times, but especially when the President has publicly stated his distaste for coal and his desire to kill the industry.
Life is too short to go up against such headwinds.
One clarification. The Gulf Coast "gasification" projects were originally premised on converting petroleum coke into natural gas. That made sense with $14 natgas, but not $2-3 natgas. Now they want to pivot and convert petcoke into gasoline, methanol, hydrogen or other products.
This whole thing is probably as misguided as the coal-to-gas conversion idea. But it seems like it might have legs because of facts I previously mentioned. One, the Gulf Coast is supportive of energy-related projects. Two, the key driver in financial viability is the Department of Energy loan guarantee -- not the decision of a state governor or legislative body that can be influenced by the lobbying dollars of environmental radicals.