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How to Obtain Authorization to Import and/or Export Natural Gas and LNG

LNG Exports | Long Terms | Blanket Authorizations | Vacate | Name Change | Contents of Application | FTA and non-FTA Countries

Background

Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) (15 U.S.C. § 717b) prohibits the import or export of natural gas, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) from or to a foreign country without prior approval from the Department of Energy (DOE). Parties who want to enter into natural gas transactions with foreign sellers and buyers must file for an import and/or export authorization under the rules and procedures found in (10 CFR Part 590) of DOE's regulations.

Procedures for Filing an Application  

The following general instructions are designed to assist applicants applying for an import and/or export authorization. While the process is not complicated, applications are required to be filed at least 90 days in advance of the proposed import and/or export. (10 CFR Part 590.201)

Send all paper or non-electronic official communications by mail to:

Larine A. Moore
U.S. Department of Energy
FE-34
P.O. Box 44375
Washington DC 20026-4375

A docket number will be assigned to the application when it is received by DOE and should be referenced in future communications involving each application. Please direct any questions concerning the filing of an application to Larine Moore at (202)586-9478.

If you plan to visit DOE, the following information is provided:

DOE's hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., U.S. Eastern Time (GMT -4), Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Upon entering through the Forrestal Building, (L’Enfant Plaza) doors, proceed directly to visitor’s desk to complete sign-in and access procedures to visit Room 3E-042 Docket Room.

To gain access, you must either:

  • Be pre-announced by the person you are visiting at which time you will be directed to your sponsor; or
  • If you are not pre-announced, the person whom you wish to visit will be notified by phone of your arrival. Please try to call ahead before arriving. If the sponsor authorizes you to visit, you will be approved for entry.

Due to ongoing delays in the delivery of mail, the Office of Oil and Gas Global Security and Supply, Division of Natural Gas Regulatory Activities has initiated the following alternative application process.
An applicant may use our online e-File Application, fax or submit an application electronically for blanket import or export of natural gas to either (202) 586-6050 or (202) 586-6221. The faxed application must be accompanied by a photocopy of the check for the application fee. It must also include a cover letter or affidavit indicating that the applicant has mailed the application on the same day.

Types

Long-Term Authorization (hardcopy)

A company should apply for long-term import or export authorization if it has a signed gas purchase and/or sales contract for a period of time longer than two years. The regulations require an applicant to submit the contract(s) with the identity of the sellers of gas, the markets in which the gas is to be sold, and the terms of the sale agreement(s)along with a start date. All long-term applications should include the documents as outlined below.

Blanket (Short-term) Authorization (online)

A blanket import and/or export authorization enables a company to import and/or export gas on a short-term or spot market basis for transactions with terms of no longer than two years.  Gas purchase and sales contracts are not filed as part of an application however, start date is required. Hardcopies are still accepted, but our preferred and most expedient method is online e-Filing process for submissions of blanket applications.

Vacate

A company may request to vacate its current authorization at any time prior to the expiration date. A vacate request should identify the authorization holder (company), parent company and/or company legally authorized to request the vacate (if different from the authorization holder). Each request should include the docket number, DOE/FE Order number, the effective date of the Order to Vacate and the reason for the request to vacate.

Name Change  

In the event of a name change or merger, the authorization holder must submit a request to vacate the current authorization via email fergas@hq.doe.gov, or correspondence, and submit a new and separate application requesting authority to import or export under new company name (this can be done online). In addition a copy of the; state issued Certificate verifying the name change and its effective date must be submitted at the time of the request before the new application will be processed. An adjustment to the monthly reports after the name change effective date may also be required.

Applications requiring a retroactive effective date cannot be filed online, and must be filed in a hardcopy format, and will treated on a case-by-case basis.

Report of Contract Amendments and Other Changes

Any person authorized to import and/or export natural gas and/or LNG has a continuing obligation to provide written notification of any prospective or actual changes to the information submitted with or in the application including, but not limited to, amendments or other changes in the terms and conditions of any natural gas purchase contract, in volumes accepted or offered, or the import and/or export price paid. Notification must also be made in changes of company name as the result of a sale, merger, or the company ceases to exist.

Application Requirements
  1. Each hard copy application shall consist of an original and three (3) copies.
  2. A filing fee of fifty dollars ($50 USD) must be submitted with each application. Make checks payable to the “Treasurer of the United States”.
Contents of Application 

While no specific format is required for an application, the following sequence for setting out the facts is provided for your convenience:

Each Application Should Include:

  1. State the exact legal name of the company, including the name of the parent company if the applicant is a subsidiary or affiliate. State the form of business organization (e.g., corporation, limited partnership, etc.).
  2. State the name, title, mailing address, email address, and telephone number of the person(s) to whom correspondence regarding the application should be addressed. Also include the name, title, mailing address, email address, and telephone number of a corporate officer or employee of the applicant to whom inquiries may be directed.
  3. Provide a concise statement which describes the proposed import and/or export arrangement, including the associated volume of natural gas expressed in Bcf (billion cubic feet), and a start date.

ALL LONG TERM APPLICATIONS SHOULD INCLUDE:

  1. For long-term applications, identify the supplier or purchaser of the natural gas to be imported and/or exported, the name of the U.S. transporter(s), the point(s) of entry or exit on the international border, and the geographic market(s) served, and a start date.
  2. Also for long-term applications, describe the major provisions of the gas purchase or sales contract, including base price, volume requirements, take-or-pay obligations, make-up provisions, transportation, reservation fees, and other costs.

Exhibits to Application - The following exhibits must be included with each application:

  • Exhibit A. A statement, including a signed opinion of counsel, showing that the import and/or export of natural gas, and/or LNG, is within the corporate powers of the company.
  • Exhibit B. For long-term applications, a copy of the gas purchase or sales contract, or both.
Additional Requirement

Monthly Reports - Within 30 days following each calendar month, a report indicating whether imports and/or exports have been made should be filed. The information contained in these reports include, among other things, (1) country of origin or destination; (2) point(s) of entry or exit; (3) volumes delivered at each point; (4) price; (5) supplier; and (6) geographic area served (for imports). More information on these reports may be found in the Sample Reports Formats and Guidelines section of this website.

Natural Gas Import & Export Regulation -   Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Countries and LNG Exports  
  1. Deemed Public Interest Imports and Exports - Section 3(c) of the NGA was amended by section 201 of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (Pub. L. 102-486) to require that applications to authorize (a) the import and export of natural gas, including LNG, from and to a nation with which there is in effect a free trade agreement requiring national treatment for trade in natural gas, and (b) the import of LNG from other international sources, be deemed consistent with the public interest and granted without modification or delay.
  2. FTA Countries that Require National Treatment for Trade in Natural Gas -As of October 31, 2012, the United States has FTAs that require national treatment for trade in natural gas with Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Peru, Republic of Korea and Singapore.  Panama is the most recent country with which the United States has entered into a FTA that requires national treatment for trade in natural gas, effective October 31, 2012. Not all countries that have a FTA with the United States require national treatment for trade in natural gas (i.e. Costa Rica and Israel). A list of all countries with which the United States has a FTA can be found at: http://www.ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements.
  3. Applications Not covered by Deemed Public Interest Criteria (including LNG Exports to non-FTA Countries) - Applications not covered by the deemed public interest finding in section 3(c) of the NGA include applications to export natural gas, and/or LNG to countries with which the United States does not have a FTA that requires national treatment for trade in natural gas, and applications to import natural gas, excluding LNG, from these non-FTA countries. These applications shall be filed in hard copy format. DOE/FE will issue a Federal Register Notice of application seeking comments, protests, and motions to intervene in order to make a public interest finding for these types of applications.

Disclaimer: Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any of the above information or representations.