US rivals battle over LNG: 4 export permits now approved.

FT: “The rise of the US as a global gas exporter is gathering speed. Until May, the government had granted just one permit for worldwide exports of liquefied natural gas. It has approved three more in the past five months.” “This is setting the stage for an epic battle, pitting would-be exporters against companies planning to use the gas in the US, and rival export projects against each other.
The Cove Point plant in Maryland, owned by Dominion, the US energy group, last week became the fourth project to be awarded a licence to sell to countries that do not have a trade agreement with the US. There are 20 more projects with applications for such licences waiting in the queue.
Many of those plans are likely never to come to fruition, but the opportunity is certainly enticing.
Benchmark US gas is about $3.60 per million British thermal units for delivery next month, and still only about $5 per mBTU for 2020, thanks to the glut created by the shale boom.
With cargoes of LNG being sold in China, Japan and South Korea for about $15 per mBTU, that is an attractive opportunity, even with the costs of liquefaction, transport and regasification adding about $6 per mBTU, according to estimates from Ernst & Young, the consultancy.
For years, the slow pace of permit awards from the Department of Energy has been the most prominent problem for would-be exporters. After President Barack Obama signalled in May that he favoured increased gas exports, though, the approval process shifted into a higher gear.
For America’s Energy Advantage, a group backed by energy-intensive US manufacturers including Dow Chemical, Alcoa, the aluminium group, and Nucor, the steelmaker, it is moving too fast.”