LNG protesters

Opponents of LNG projects in Texas gathered at the FERC building in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2023.

(Photo: Hailey Duncan/X)

Fossil Fuel Speculators—Not Consumers—Would Win Big From LNG Exports: Report

"The expansion of U.S. LNG export capacity simply empowers Big Oil giants and commodity traders' ability to earn eye-popping profits," noted one expert.

Belying Big Oil's claims that vastly expanded U.S. liquefied natural gas exports benefit consumers, a report published Wednesday revealed that fossil fuel speculators and commodity traders would be the main beneficiaries from eight proposed LNG projects, while American consumers and the climate would suffer higher prices and emissions.

The report—entitled Methane Madness—was published by Friends of the Earth, Bailout Watch, and Public Citizen and examines how the controversial Calcasieu Pass 2 (CP2) LNG export terminal in Louisiana and seven other proposed projects would harm U.S. consumers while fueling the climate emergency.

"Big Oil's talking points about European energy security are cynical and inaccurate," said Lukas Ross, climate and energy deputy director at Friends of the Earth.

The report found that:

  • If built, the eight pending projects will produce the annual equivalent of 113 coal plants in planet-warming emissions;
  • More than half of the volume from these pending facilities has been secured by commodity trading firms and Big Oil's speculative trading arms;
  • Four of the five largest purchasers by volume from pending facilities are speculators;
  • LNG from these facilities, if they are built, will be sold wherever these so-called "portfolio players" can turn the biggest profit—undercutting industry claims that the expansion is needed for European energy security; and
  • The temporary surge in LNG exports to Europe since the outbreak of war in Ukraine is not translating into long-term demand.

"Record LNG exports drive up home heating prices for Americans, and line the pockets of fossil fuel CEOs, and these new planet-wrecking projects are not in the interest of the public," asserted Public Citizen energy researcher Alan Zibel.

"No amount of misleading energy industry lobbying can undo the simple reality that LNG exports force American consumers to pay more in the long run while U.S.-produced gas winds up in Beijing and Berlin," he added. "The expansion of U.S. LNG export capacity simply empowers Big Oil giants and commodity traders' ability to earn eye-popping profits."

The new report came as the Biden administration reportedly paused CP2's approval pending a Department of Energy review of the project's economic, national security, and climate impacts. While welcoming the news, climate campaigners argued that a pause is not enough.

"Now that they have paused, there is only one thing to do: Vow to reject CP2 and all 17 proposed LNG projects, and to phase out ALL fossil fuels," said 350.org U.S. campaign manager Candice Fortin. "Our frontline partners on the U.S. Gulf Coast have been fighting against oil and gas projects and for their homes and lives for decades. It is past time for the government to listen and stand up to the billionaires who are knowingly promoting toxic energy sources."

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