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Analysts weigh in on increase in gas and energy prices

Energy analysts held a news conference to call attention to one of the area’s biggest producers of natural gas
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 5:36 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Global energy analysts say gas exports are driving up U.S. winter energy bills. They also are warning consumers should brace for even higher costs as the gas industry doubles down on exports.

But supporters of local energy companies say that’s not necessarily the case.

Energy analysts held a news conference to call attention to one of the area’s biggest producers of natural gas.

They say LNG’s business practices are hurting the consumer and the country. But local energy leaders say that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Increased prices of natural gas - meaning increased prices of energy bills.

Some energy analysts like Clark Williams-Derry, with the nonprofit- Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, say an increase in exports to places like Asia and Europe is what is leading to these higher prices.

“LNG exports just about doubled from 2019 to 2021, and that was what created the supply tightness in the market that have lifted prices and made U.S. consumers pay higher prices for natural gas. And also as a consequence for electricity,” Williams-Derry said.

But Lake Area Industry Alliance Executive Director Jim Rock says we see these price spikes every year.

“The seasonal change is what’s driving, and has historically driven, pricing in the wintertime,” Rock said.

Rock also says the pandemic has played a large part in the price increase.

“The pandemic has had such an impact on every supply chain from bread and milk to natural gas and cars,” Rock said.

Paul N. Cicio, with the nonprofit- Industrial Energy Consumers of America, worries that extended contracts with global exports will pose problems in the future.

“We are giving - those policies are giving - foreign countries access to our gas all the way out to 2050 but without any guarantees that that gas is going to be available for the domestic market and at responsible prices,” Cicio said.

Cicio adds that if the additional LNG plants were placed across the U.S., LNG could account for up to 46% of total natural gas - up from the current 10%.

LNG currently serves 10% of the total gas production, and energy experts say that the proposed LNG expansion, which includes nearly a dozen additional terminals in Louisiana, will cause consumers to face further price increases.

But rock explains that the LNG plants will provide a worldwide benefit.

“It’s very important for those nations to have access to natural gas so they can achieve carbon emission targets and goals that will, you know, benefit everybody,” Rock said.

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