Biden Administration Rejects Cheniere’s Request to Overturn LNG Pollution Act – Reuters

© Reuters A sign of US LNG company Cheniere is seen at a registration counter at the International Conference and Exhibition in Shanghai, China.

By Valery Volkovichi and Nikola Bride

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday it had rejected a request by liquids exporter Cheniere Energy (NYSE: ) Inc to exempt turbines at two U.S. Gulf Coast terminals from hazardous pollution rules.

The rejection raises questions about whether the Texas-based company will have to cut exports to install new pollution control equipment at its facility, as Europe relies on a reduction in LNG shipments from the United States to Russia. .

Europe is facing gas shortages, energy prices have soared and German importers are discussing possible rationing in the EU’s biggest economy, in a clear wake of Western sanctions imposed after the Ukraine invasion.

“While EPA has denied Cheniere’s request for a special subcategory to comply with the Turbine Act, the agency will continue to work with them and other companies as needed,” Tim Carroll spokesman Tim Carroll said in an email. .

Owners and operators of gas turbines had a Sept. 5 deadline to comply with the National Hazardous Air Pollution Standards (NESHAP), which President Joe Biden’s administration implemented after an 18-year delay.

The rule limits emissions of known carcinogens, such as formaldehyde and benzene, from stationary combustion turbines, like those used by LNG facilities.

Cheniere Biden administration asks. It exempts certain types of turbines installed at LNG terminals from NESHAP restrictions, which could reduce long-term shipments from the top U.S. exporter and jeopardize the country’s efforts to reach Europe.

According to the EPA Cheniere is the only company to request such an exemption, he said. The company says the turbine model it uses at its Texas and Louisiana facilities is the best technology to deal with hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, but the equipment is difficult to retrofit, and engineering and pollution control could take years.

Cheniere spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder said the company “strongly disagrees” with the EPA’s decision, but “we will work with our state and federal regulators to develop solutions to ensure compliance.”

The decision may result in “unexpected costs” but full compliance will not have a material financial or operational impact and will not affect its ability to supply LNG to customers and countries around the world, he said.

Gas-powered turbines produce formaldehyde and other hazardous pollutants as a result of the chemical changes that occur when methane, the main ingredient in natural gas, is overheated.

About 250 U.S. gas turbines are subject to the new rule, according to the EPA list, about a quarter of which are Cheniere.

The Houston-based company handles about 50% of US LNG shipments abroad.

Shares of Cheniere were down 2.3% at $158.58 on Tuesday.

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