Expanding U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to India will strengthen ties, secure mutual energy security and create American jobs, analysts said Wednesday.
“LNG exports create an opening for a more intensified relationship and help in broader trade arena and help strengthen converging security concerns,” Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., said, at the Center for Strategic International Studies, or CSIS, in Washington, D.C.
Boustany has advocated exporting LNG, as his state, Louisiana, holds one of the only LNG-exporting terminals that is allowed to export to countries with which the U.S. does not have a free trade agreement.
India became the world's sixth-largest LNG importer in 2011 and is the fourth-largest energy consumer in the world after the United States, China and Russia, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
As India’s economy grows so does its energy security concerns. This vulnerability poses barriers to its growth, Boustany said.
Echoing Boustany’s sentiment, Karl Inderfurth, who holds the Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy at CSIS, said India has to “secure more energy supply in order to secure greater economic development.”
The importance for the U.S., Boustany said, was that it would create jobs and increase investment. In Boustany’s district the natural gas boom has led to some $50 billion worth of investments, Boustany said.
U.S.-India relations have grown over the years with a major turning point in 2006 when the U.S. reversed a three-decades-old nonproliferation policy.
Just last month, Secretary of State John Kerry made a state visit to India holding high-level talks with the Indian administration, bringing along U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.
Ahead of Kerry’s visit, Boustany issued a statement promoting LNG trade with India. “I encourage Secretary Kerry to reinforce the importance of this trade relationship between our governments. It continues to be in the best interest of both countries,” he said.