The Energy Department will next consider the application of a slightly larger export facility in Lake Charles, La. While there are nearly a score of outstanding applications, analysts expect that only a handful will be built, due to the high cost of gas liquefication facilities.
Moody's Investor Service has said that projects building from existing facilities, including Cove Point LNG in Maryland and Cameron LNG in Louisiana, are best placed to secure approval and financing from the private sector.
Further complicating the picture for U.S. exports are uncertainties over future global demand for LNG. Australia and Qatar, among other countries, have expanded their own gas exports in recent years and are well-placed to supply potential customers in Asia and Europe. Due to the cost of liquefying and transporting gas, U.S. exports may not be cost-competitive if domestic prices rise in coming years.