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Maritime Transportation: Implications of Using U.S. Liquefied-Natural-Gas Carriers for Exports


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More than 30 companies have received approval from DOE for large-scale exports of U.S. LNG - natural gas cooled for transportation - beginning in 2015 or 2016 via specialized LNG carriers. Congress is considering whether to propose legislative language that would require U.S. LNG be exported via U.S.-built-and-flagged carriers with the goal of supporting U.S. shipbuilders and mariners. Congress included a provision in statute for GAO to review the number of vessel construction and operating jobs that would be created in the U. S. maritime industry each year in 2015 through 2025 if exported LNG were required to be carried (1) before December 31, 2018, on vessels documented under the laws of the United States and (2) after such date, on vessels documented under the laws of and constructed in the United States. This report discusses (1) DOE and industry expectations for the market for U.S. LNG exports and (2) how the proposed requirement could affect jobs in the U.S. maritime industry and the broader U.S. economy. GAO reviewed and analyzed economic forecasts of the LNG market and interviewed relevant stakeholders including officials from DOD, DOE, the Department of Transportation, Coast Guard, and the U.S. Trade Representative; representatives of mariner groups, three U.S. shipyards that expressed interest in this market, the five U.S. liquefaction facilities that are under construction, and economic research firms that have studied the LNG market.



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