Obama Seen Ruling on LNG Export This Year, Barclays Says

The Obama administration probably will decide by year-end whether to let additional terminals export liquefied natural gas, Barclays Bank Plc said, citing a meeting with a top White House energy official.

The U.S. suspended issuing permits for exports of gas in liquid form after some fuel users and Democrats in Congress said sales abroad might increase domestic prices. Cheniere Energy Inc. is the only company so far to win approval to ship gas from a Louisiana terminal.

Heather Zichal, President Barack Obama’s deputy assistant for energy and climate change, told Barclays yesterday that while some companies will get clearance, others will be rejected because of lack of funding or legal problems, according to a note the company sent to clients today.

“She expects decisions on additional applications before year-end and, overall, Zichal thinks roughly six terminals might get funded over the next decade,” Barclays said, citing a meeting at the White House yesterday.

Barclays didn’t name any companies. The Energy Department suspended other applications after Cheniere’s permit and commissioned a study of the impact of exports on domestic energy use, output and prices before making decisions on permit requests. A portion of the study was published in January, while a second part hasn’t been issued.

“Decisions will be made in a timely manner following the analysis,” Clark Stevens, a White House spokesman, said today in an e-mail.

Investors including Sempra Energy with partners Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsui & Co. Ltd., Freeport LNG with Macquarie Group Ltd., and Dominion Resources Inc. applied for approvals from the Energy Department.

The Sierra Club is seeking to block Dominion’s export plan, because the San Francisco-based environmental group said it would encourage hydraulic fracturing, a drilling technique that it said harms natural resources and people.

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