Newspaper article Roll Call

LNG Export Boom Will Likely Leave out U.S. Shipyards

Newspaper article Roll Call

LNG Export Boom Will Likely Leave out U.S. Shipyards

Article excerpt

When you think of U.S. shipbuilding, you may think of places such as Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss. building Navy destroyers.

But this week Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., made an effort to make American shipyards part of the growing momentum for export of U.S. liquefied natural gas.

According to the International Group of LNG Importers, the United States is on course "to become the world's third largest LNG exporter by the end of the decade."

When the House debated a bill to speed up Energy Department approval of applications to export LNG from U.S. terminals, Garamendi tried to attach amendments to require U.S. LNG exports to be carried on U.S. flag vessels or to require that federal regulators give priority to exporters who use U.S. flag vessels.

At the end of last year, the world LNG tanker fleet consisted of 393 vessels, with 113 on order. The dominant shipbuilders are Samsung Heavy Industries, Daewoo, Hyundai, and Kawasaki.

"Do you stand with American sailors and shipbuilders?" Garamendi asked on the House floor right before his motion to recommit the LNG export bill - with instructions to the Energy and Commerce Committee to report it back with his amendment attached - was defeated by a vote of 225 to 192.

On Monday, trying to persuade the Rules Committee to allow him to offer his amendments, the California Democrat said, "The export of this natural resource beyond North America will require hundreds, hundreds, of LNG tanker ships. These ships should be American built, with American crews."

His amendment, he said, "would lead to an expansion of our shipbuilding industry which is clearly in the United States interest."

Garamendi spokesman Matthew Kravitz said none of the legislation he offered this week "would have required that the vessels be built in the U.S. [just flagged in the U.S.], although that is a policy that he would certainly be open to in the future. …

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