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Frequently Asked Questions about Natural Gas Regulation

  1. Why do I need to have an authorization to import natural gas
  2. Do I have to get an authorization to export natural gas?
  3. Who is importing and exporting natural gas?
  4. What are the requested volumes of natural gas for import or export?
  5. What are the countries of origin for natural gas imported into the U.S. and destination of gas exported from the U.S.?
  6. What do I have to do to get an Authorization?
  7. Do I need to have an import authorization to use Canadian or Mexican natural gas in my factory?
  8. I don't know if I should request an import authorization or not. Who can I talk to about filing an application or whether I need to file an application?
  9. How long does it take to get an authorization to import or export natural gas from your office?
  10. Can I get a copy of (a specific application, order, quarterly report, etc.)?
  11. I don't know if I should be reporting my natural gas purchases of (Canadian, Mexican, etc.) gas to you or if the person I buy the gas from should be reporting. Who can I ask about this?
  12. I just started to import natural gas from Canada. What do I have to report and to who do I report it?
  13. I'm going to be buying some gas from Canada. I've sent in an application for an import authorization to your office. Do I need to get permission from the Canadian Government as well?
  14. I already have an import authorization from your office and I'm ready to start importing natural gas. Do I have to file anything with the U.S. Customs Service?
  15. Does an importer of natural gas have to pay any tariffs or fees when bringing in natural gas?
  16. What amount must be paid to the U.S. Customs Service for importing natural gas from a country like Mexico?
  17. Is there a fee or duty for exporting gas?
  18. Is Canadian natural gas the same as natural gas produced in the United States?
  19. When did the United States first start using imported natural gas?
 
Why do I need to have an authorization to import natural gas?
The Natural Gas Act of 1938 states that anyone who brings natural gas into the country has to have an authorization from the federal government. The same Act applies to anyone who wants to take natural gas out of the United States. This also includes subsidiaries, or affiliates of companies which may already have a valid authorization in place. Anyone who has title to the gas, and is transporting the gas should apply for authority.

Do I have to get an authorization to export natural gas?
If you propose to transport natural gas out of the United States and sell it or use it in a foreign country you need to get an export authorization. In some cases you may be selling your gas to a foreign company here in the United States. In that case the foreign company may already have an export authorization. You and your customer need to determine who will get the export authorization.

Who is importing and exporting natural gas?
We receive applications for authorizations from many sources such as local distribution companies, municipalities, industrial end-users, electric utilities, pipeline transportation companies and individuals and companies that market natural gas. Normally our applicants are the buyers or sellers of quite large volumes of natural gas for business purposes. During 2010, our office issued 166 orders authorizing the importation and exportation of natural gas, including LNG.

What are the requested volumes of natural gas for import or export?
Applicants filing for blanket authorizations have requested import and/or export volumes ranging from two to 900 Bcf over a period of two years. Applicants filing long-term authorizations have requested import or export volumes ranging from one to 600 MMcf per day over a period of nine to 20 years. If you are interested in seeing what volumes of gas are actually being imported today see the Quarterly Reports Page.

What are the countries of origin for natural gas imported into the U.S. and destination of gas exported from the U.S.?
Gas is imported or exported from and to Canada and Mexico through natural gas pipelines. The majority of natural gas comes into the United States from Canada through pipelines. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is imported from Algeria, Trinidad & Tobago, Qatar, Malaysia, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates and exported to Japan aboard ocean going tankers. The Quarterly Report Page can give you specific information about where our natural gas supplies are coming from or where U.S. natural gas is marketed.

What do I have to do to get an Authorization?
If you want to import foreign natural gas, and/or LNG, or export domestic gas to another country, you must file an application for an import/export authorization in compliance with DOE regulations. For information on the export of LNG. An application is not complicated. While there is no form to fill out we do require a narrative submission in a recommended format (average five to ten pages). Processing time for blanket applications is short (averaging two weeks), long-term applications take a little longer to process. The filing fee of $50.00 per application is relatively inexpensive. For help in filing see how to apply/application process and sample applications.

Do I need to have an import authorization to use Canadian or Mexican natural gas in my factory?
Only the person who first brings the natural gas into the United States needs to have an import authorization. If you are buying Canadian gas from a marketer operating in the U.S., the marketer has already obtained the authorization.

I don't know if I should request an import authorization or not. Who can I talk to about filing an application or whether I need to file an application?
Generally, questions about whether you need to file an application for an authorization or how to go about preparing the application can be answered by Larine A. Moore (202-586-9478). However, this site has extensive information on both of these issues. Try reviewing this information before calling, your question may already be addressed. If not feel free to call.

How long does it take to get an authorization to import or export natural gas from your office?
The average authorization for a "Blanket" authorization, one that involves purchase contracts of two years or less, takes less than two weeks and can, if necessary, be granted in less time. Authorizations for long-term import or export arrangements tend to take slightly longer but usually no longer than three weeks from the time the application arrives in our office. You can track the status of your case by going to: https://www.fossil.energy.gov/app/fergas/DocketOrderList.go

Can I get a copy of (a specific application, order, quarterly report, etc.)?
Yes. All documents submitted to and developed by us are available online to the public. We do ask that you keep your requests limited to your actual needs. Staff, dollars, and time are limited. If your request is for a document that we do not have copies of, or if you ask for a document in a format that we have to convert to we may not be able to respond to your request immediately. Requests for extensive documentation may require that we impose a charge for the copying. In these cases we will tell you the anticipated charge before we fulfil your request. If you need a copy of a specific authorization order that we have issued it can be downloaded from this web site. Since July 1997, all Orders issued by the Office are on our website (see Authorizations). Likewise, if you need a copy of a Quarterly Report you may download it directly from this site (see the Quarterly Report Page for specific instructions).

 

I don't know if I should be reporting my natural gas purchases of (Canadian, Mexican, etc.) gas to you or if the person I buy the gas from should be reporting. Who can I ask about this?
Generally, questions about who should be reporting and what to report can be answered by Yvonne Caudillo (202-586-4587).

I just started to import natural gas from Canada. What do I have to report and to who do I report it?
Whenever we issue an import authorization, the reporting requirements are contained in the authorizing paragraphs which are in the very last part of the order. While those requirements vary from case to case generally a importer has to report the date of first import transaction they make, and then for every transaction they report by month the average price and volume of gas, and the person who they sold the gas to in the U.S. The Quarterly Reports section of this site has a sample form that most importers use to report their information. If you still are unsure after looking at this section contact Yvonne Caudillo (202-586-4587), and she will assist you in working out the details.

I'm going to be buying some gas from Canada. I've sent in an application for an import authorization to your office. Do I need to get permission from the Canadian Government as well?
Generally the person who is selling you the gas from Canada will be the one to get the Canadian government's permission.

I already have an import authorization from your office and I'm ready to start importing natural gas. Do I have to file anything with the U.S. Customs Service?
There are requirements for filing certain forms with the Customs Service. We recommend that you contact the U.S. Customs Service for what information is required and how to report it.

Does an importer of natural gas have to pay any tariffs or fees when bringing in natural gas?
It depends on the foreign source of the natural gas supply. On January 1, 1994, the Canada-United States Free Trade agreement (FTA) eliminated all fees and tariffs on Canadian natural gas coming into our country. However, natural gas imported from Mexico, Algeria, and other sources, must still pay a small merchandise processing fee to the U.S. Customs Service.

What amount must be paid to the U.S. Customs Service for importing natural gas from a country like Mexico?
In accordance with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), all fees were eliminated on June 30, 1999.

Is there a fee or duty for exporting gas?
Like natural gas imports, the Canadian-United States FTA eliminated all tariffs and fees on natural gas exports from the United States to Canada. On August 16, 1999, the Mexican government abolished its four percent duty on natural gas imported into Mexico. Based on NAFTA, this duty was scheduled to be phased out by January 1, 2003.

Is Canadian natural gas the same as natural gas produced in the United States?
The components of natural gas while in the ground vary. This is true for different parts of the United States as well as Canada or Mexico. Natural gas is "processed" before it enters the pipeline system that delivers the gas to end-users, such as homeowners. Whatever differences may exist while the gas is in the ground are eliminated by the time it reaches the pipeline.

When did the United States first start using imported natural gas?
The first instance of natural gas being imported into the United States was in 1892. Canada began exporting some of its Ontario natural gas production into the United States across the international border near Niagara Falls, New York.