The Stakes of U.S. Prosperity, LNG Trade
It is a rare opportunity that isolates Iran, undermines Russian energy dominance and broadly benefits the U.S. economy. But those are the stakes for American prosperity as the Obama administration contemplates whether to allow the trade of natural gas with our closest allies.
Whereas oil is freely traded on global markets, natural gas has traditionally been a regional commodity locked in pipelines, creating wide price disparities among global markets and making diplomatic relations with (and proximity to) suppliers fundamental. In Europe, for example, certain allies of Russia pay as little as half as much as other neighbors, which actually lie closer. Still a relatively small part of global trade, liquefied natural gas , on the other hand, affords gas-importing nations access to diverse and flexible global supplies.
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Neil Brown is a non-resident fellow at the German Marshall Fund.