So, about Obama’s goal to double U.S. exports…

posted at 5:31 pm on August 3, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

I would simply like to a take a moment to pointedly observe the fact that President Obama himself can not only (if implicitly) recognize the inherent benefits of unrestricted free trade, but that he is currently and actively promoting increased exports as a method of growing the economy. I would never say that increased exports merely for their own sake are necessarily an economic boon, but if the United States (or any country, for that matter) is indeed readily able to competitively produce some good or service for which there is any kind of global demand, then heck yes — exports are fantastic for economic growth, as are imports when other countries in their turn can produce something more cheaply and efficiently than we can.

The Obama administration had early on set some goals to boost U.S. exports, but with weak U.S. economic growth and an ever weaker global economy, their erstwhile goals are falling tragically short. Via the AP:

Back in January 2010, President Barack Obama set a lofty goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years. With just 18 months to go to 2015, that target seems to be slipping beyond reach and has vanished from White House talking points. …

Monthly export numbers have been mostly stagnant this year. And only a scant 6,000 manufacturing jobs were added last month, according to Labor Department jobs statistics released Friday.

“The goal of doubling exports keeps getting harder to achieve, not easier,” said Alan Tonelson, research fellow at the U.S. Business and Industry Council, which represents about 2,000 mostly family owned manufacturing companies. “We’re actually backsliding, not making progress.”

Paging the Obama administration: I have a super-neat idea for how we could make some money and boost our economy with exports: Do you think maybe you guys could quit dithering around on finally issuing those natural-gas export permits for which multiple companies are currently clamoring hand-over-fist?

Though domestic demand for gas may grow only slowly, there’s a huge global market for the commodity. With Japan retreating from nuclear power after the Fukushima accident, their need for gas to generate electricity has risen exponentially. Because Germany is planning to phase out nuclear power over the next decade, that country’s demand for natural gas will escalate as well.  China and Korea are also expected to be huge gas importers for the foreseeable future.

To ship American gas across the oceans, of course, it must first be liquefied, requiring huge investments in liquefaction plants, export terminals and special liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers.   To date, only two projects have been approved by the U.S. Department of Energy—one  in Sabine Pass, Louisiana being developed by Cheniere Energy and another in Freeport, Texas being developed by a group of limited partners that includes ConocoPhillips and subsidiaries of Dow Chemical and Osaka Gas Corporation.  Both of these projects are secured by long-term supply agreements with companies such as Korea Gas Corporation and Chubu Electric Power Corporation.  20 other applications are currently being evaluated by the Department of Energy, including potential investments by Korean and British companies.

Obama’s new Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz has signaled both that the administration is a general albeit cautious fan of natural gas and that they’re going to get around to approving the pending applications sometime soon. Ergo, I’m hopeful, but there are real opportunity costs for businesses in continuing to delay these things, and the fact that any Democrats in Congress are pretending that exporting natural gas would be anything but great for the American economy — while their president is actively pushing for further exports — is yet another  testament to the stupid amount of political sway our huge bureaucracy affords to special interests.


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Back in January 2010, President Barack Obama set a lofty goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years.

Obama has had a lot of “lofty” goals.

A few I can think of: Most Transparent Administration Evah!!, the stimulus would keep unemployment under 8 percent, ending the “old way” Washington does business, a post-racial era.

Seems Obama loves setting goals. He just never goes about actually reaching them.

Bitter Clinger on August 3, 2013 at 5:37 PM

I have decided Obama is a puppet for a delusional band of incompetent leftists, who Obama actually thinks are quite smart, but not nearly the genius he is.

pat on August 3, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Does going from arming Mexican cartels to arming Libyan jihadis and Syrian jihadis count as doubling?

Flange on August 3, 2013 at 5:49 PM

He won like obama did.

Welcome to Zimbabwe.

Schadenfreude on August 3, 2013 at 6:00 PM

“Over the past four years, for the first time since the 1990s, the number of manufacturing jobs hasn’t gone down. It’s gone up. Now we have to build on that progress,” Obama said this week in Chattanooga, Tenn., after similar stops in Illinois, Missouri and Florida the week before.

Actually, the number of overall manufacturing jobs has changed little over the past 12 months.

I am sure brayam will be along any time to spin this.

CW on August 3, 2013 at 6:01 PM

The only thing Obama can export is Bows and apologies to foreign communist/marxist nations.

they lie on August 3, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Back in January 2010, President Barack Obama set a lofty goal of doubling U.S. export of jobs.

FIFY

BDavis on August 3, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Do you think maybe you guys could quit dithering around on finally issuing those natural-gas export permits for which multiple companies are currently clamoring hand-over-fist?

No, but Obama is more than willing to issue those haircut export permits.

Stoic Patriot on August 3, 2013 at 6:10 PM

Sabine Pass is in Texas, not Louisiana. The facility is in the preliminary stages of doing a billion dollar enlargement of the plant.

Spider79 on August 3, 2013 at 6:22 PM

He exported a log of guns to Mexico and Syria. He must have even bigger plans now.

VorDaj on August 3, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Each log of guns is about 10,000 guns.

VorDaj on August 3, 2013 at 6:24 PM

That’s probably why there’s hardly any ammo left in the USA, he exported almost all of it.

VorDaj on August 3, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Let’s export Obama.

VorDaj on August 3, 2013 at 6:27 PM

King Barry is for anything that will KILL the US economy.

GarandFan on August 3, 2013 at 6:30 PM

This goes directly that butch partisan “journalist” they just had on Fox News. Essentially her message was lots of luck getting the rat-eared coward actually compromising with the GOP. But, of course, it was all the fault of the GOP for not sucking up to the ass the way the media does.

Happy Nomad on August 3, 2013 at 6:41 PM

Let’s export Obama.

VorDaj on August 3, 2013 at 6:27 PM

By doing so, we’ll at least double our export of hubris.

beatcanvas on August 3, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Hey, about the headline picture, is that the boat Ed’s on?

petefrt on August 3, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Obama has so many “laser focus” ideas going, that the White House should look like a cheap disco DJ display.

Wino on August 3, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Hey, about the headline picture, is that the boat Ed’s on?

petefrt on August 3, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Not bloody likely! LNG carriers are floating 4x4s. If they blow up they leave a whole in the ocean 4 miles by 4 miles. I ‘m sure that will be part of the excuse for delay.

Happy Nomad on August 3, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Spider79 on August 3, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Are you from either state? Sabine Pass is where the Sabine River enters the Gulf of Mexico. One one side is Louisiana and the other Texas. Cheniere Energy’s terminal is in Louisiana, not in Texas.

Here for your viewing pleasure http://goo.gl/maps/OenCt

Kermit on August 3, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Another alternative is to use the NG to power vehicles and reduce the amount of oil imported (what the Saudi prince does not want). Of course we would have to add the same polution control devices we have on our kitchen stoves — NONE — to all vehicles. (How come the enviros haven’t figured this out yet — the Arabs are paying them not to!! e.g. the UAE sponsored Gasland I & II)

A nice kick off move would be a 10-year holiday on fuel taxes for all natural gas powered vehicles. Currently there is no tax and almost zero vehicles — so it wouldn’t cost much till after 7 years or so when “Detroit” finally got their butts in gear and started producing CNG vehicles. Almost any car can be converted to CNG with a few add-ons for about $1500. The problem is finding places to fill up.

CNG vehicles is a no-brainer compared to Electric or hybrids. I expect we will be putting all the used batteries in Al Gore’s yard.

KenInIL on August 3, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Obama doesn’t want to do anything other than crush the middle class so his minions can take over and do whatever the F*ck it is they want to do. Anyone who believes anything else is drinking his FoolAid.

Personally? I am literally and figuratively exhausted. I’d rather sleep the next 3 years and wake up on the other side of this disaster, but I won’t. Suxtabeme sometimes.

Key West Reader on August 3, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Happy Nomad on August 3, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Hey, just kidding. Here the pic Ed posted earlier of the boat he’s on, recently docked in Vancouver: http://twitter.yfrog.com/ob5r3ihlj?sa=0

petefrt on August 3, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Happy Nomad on August 3, 2013 at 6:41 PM

S/he is obnoxious indeed, an Alan Colmes in drag. All talking points, no brain.

But a “journalist” she’s not. She’s a community organizer. And I begrudge FNC for giving air time to know-nothing, rabble rousing ideologues like this.

Wikipedia says she’s an unpaid Fox contributor, which makes it all the worse.

petefrt on August 3, 2013 at 7:44 PM

You wouldn’t know this if you watched Diane Sawyer each weeknight.

southsideironworks on August 3, 2013 at 7:45 PM

Key West Reader on August 3, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Hang in there, partner. I know the feeling.

petefrt on August 3, 2013 at 7:54 PM

KenInIL on August 3, 2013 at 6:59 PM

If the left were serious about carbon emissions and affordable energy, they’d promote fracking NG and nuclear production. But of course they’re not about clean energy at all. They’re about control and international redistribution of wealth.

petefrt on August 3, 2013 at 7:57 PM

Do you think maybe you guys could quit dithering around on finally issuing those natural-gas export permits for which multiple companies are currently clamoring hand-over-fist?

Only if that natural gas comes from unicorn farts.

rbj on August 3, 2013 at 8:26 PM

King Barry is for anything that will KILL the US economy.

GarandFan on August 3, 2013 at 6:30 PM

.
More to the point.

listens2glenn on August 3, 2013 at 9:00 PM

Kermit on August 3, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Sabine Pass is about 30 miles from my house. Went crabbing there last week. If you’ll notice on your map Sabine Pass is the little town on the Texas side. It got hammered bad during both Rita and Ike, but has bounced back. In the map you can see an LNG facility on both sides of the border. Here’s the local fish-wrap talking about our Texas facility.

Spider79 on August 3, 2013 at 10:10 PM

Crap. Not savy enough to create link, but here it is.

http://panews.com/local/x751143056/Golden-Pass-LNG-Open-House-draws-crowd-to-Sabine-Pass

Spider79 on August 3, 2013 at 10:12 PM

I’m on vacation. Tonight, I happen to be in Williston, North Dakota. Headed up into Canada tomorrow.

You wouldn’t believe the way this whole area is booming. Oil wells pumping. The roads are jammed with trucking. Coming into twn there was a slowdown for road construction. 8 tanker trucks ahead of me. The rest were mostly work trucks and pickups towing oilfield equipment. New construction going on.

This should be going on everywhere.

trigon on August 3, 2013 at 10:37 PM

Kermit on August 3, 2013 at 6:56 PM

If you’ll follow your map a couple of miles up the ship channel on the Texas side, you’ll see a couple of historical refineries. The first one you come to is the original Gulf refinery and right across 82 is the original Texaco plant.

Spider79 on August 3, 2013 at 11:19 PM

Spider79 on August 3, 2013 at 11:19 PM

I, too, had always been told that the refineries are on both sides of Sabine Pass. Here’s the Golden Pass terminal on the Texas side.
http://goldenpassproducts.com/

avagreen on August 4, 2013 at 8:04 AM

Spider79 on August 3, 2013 at 10:10 PM

Two different facilities. I’m well aware of Texaco and Gulf, as well as the no longer Sun refinery and up river the Magnolia refinery, now Exxon Mobil. Yes I have been in all of them. There were even distillation columns inside of what was Texaco, now Motiva, with large river rocks instead of the more “modern” trays of the early 20th century. However the earliest example of a welded pressure vessel, in a refiner that I’ve ever seen was in Carson, CA at a no longer Shell Oil Refinery, 1897.

Different subjects altogether though.

Kermit on August 4, 2013 at 11:12 AM

avagreen on August 4, 2013 at 8:04 AM

The closest refinery on the Louisiana side is at Lake Charles (actually south of Sulphur). Not sure where you got the misinformation.

Cheniere Energy is the really big LNG terminal and it is on the Louisiana side. It is the one with all the pending permits to export and the engineering already done to put in the liquefaction trains to enable it to export.

Kermit on August 4, 2013 at 11:59 AM

FYI, no other LNG terminal is this far along to be able to export…

http://www.cheniere.com/default.shtml#

Just so ava and spider will understand that this terminal is on the Louisiana side.

Kermit on August 4, 2013 at 12:02 PM

0bama’s plan to double US exports is to halve the USD. Bernanke–and successor Yellen–are on notice: keep the QE dollars flowing. It’s a monetary race to the bottom. Euro, Yen, dollar, all trying to out inflate the other.

That’s Barry’s plan. That’s his only plan.

It won’t work.

PD Quig on August 4, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Another alternative is to use the NG to power vehicles and reduce the amount of oil imported (what the Saudi prince does not want). Of course we would have to add the same polution control devices we have on our kitchen stoves — NONE — to all vehicles. (How come the enviros haven’t figured this out yet — the Arabs are paying them not to!! e.g. the UAE sponsored Gasland I & II)

A nice kick off move would be a 10-year holiday on fuel taxes for all natural gas powered vehicles. Currently there is no tax and almost zero vehicles — so it wouldn’t cost much till after 7 years or so when “Detroit” finally got their butts in gear and started producing CNG vehicles. Almost any car can be converted to CNG with a few add-ons for about $1500. The problem is finding places to fill up. CNG vehicles is a no-brainer compared to Electric or hybrids. I expect we will be putting all the used batteries in Al Gore’s yard.

KenInIL on August 3, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Finding places to fill up a CNG (compressed natural gas) vehicle can be a huge problem for passenger cars, because your average Joe or Jane used to self-service gasoline pumps at atmospheric pressure could cause major leaks (and possible explosions) of natural gas if not trained in handling gas under high pressure.

Compressed natural gas vehicles WOULD be a no-brainer for municipal bus services (including school buses), where the buses could be refueled at a central location at night by specially-trained personnel. CNG could also be used for long-haul trucks, if the trucking company set up refueling stations at “hubs” near wholesale warehouses or client destinations, close enough to one another so that the truck could reach the next station on one tankful of gas.

Due to the boom in natural gas production by “fracking”, another option is using the extra natural gas in power plants, where it is much cleaner than coal. But this would mean rescinding Obama’s own 2010 regulation on CO2 emissions, which makes it nearly impossible to permit a major gas-fired power plant. The 75,000-ton/yr emission limit is equivalent to 39 MW of heating value of natural gas, and most commercial gas turbinese produce at least 250 MW.

Why should we export natural gas when we import oil? Why not uses our own natural gas to displace oil as much as possible, and reduce our dependence on hostile foreign countries? And if we still need to import oil, let’s buy it from our friendly neighbors in Canada! They would love to sell it to us!

Steve Z on August 5, 2013 at 12:38 PM