In terms of truly bright-and-shiny economic news, there hasn’t been a whole lot to get too excited about for what seems like an age now — but the administration’s apparent recognition that they owe a lot of the United States’ recently increased exports (a stated goal of Obama’s economic agenda) to the oil and gas industry might be one of them. The federal government has been sittin’ pretty on more than twenty pending export-terminal applications, but with any luck, they’re finally advancing on unleashing our domestic production boom to the fuller economic benefits of global competition, via Reuters:

The U.S. Energy Department on Tuesday approved exports from Sempra Energy’s Cameron liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Louisiana as the Obama administration moves forward with its goal of expanding the global market for the fuel.

The conditional approval of exports from the terminal to countries with which the United States does not have free trade agreements, such as India and Japan, was the sixth approval by the department since 2011, and the first since mid-November. …

The latest export approval confirms that the review process is becoming “largely depoliticized,” said Leslie Palti-Guzman, a gas analyst for the Eurasia Group. The consulting firm predicted that permitting would “continue unabated through 2014.”

Well, I’d certainly hope so, but I won’t be taking it as a given, either:

But some analysts cautioned that a pause in approvals could still be near as licensed export volumes near the threshold of 12 bcf a day considered in DOE-commissioned studies by the Energy Information Administration and NERA Economic Consulting.

“We think a cautious agency may be unlikely to exceed the upper-bound of the range of studied outcomes,” ClearView Energy Partners said in a research note.

Which would be a damn shame, ’cause there are plenty more where that came from, also with their own job- and wealth-creating (not to mention geopolitical!) inducements. Even as the trade gap widened in December amid falling net exports, petroleum products’ role in the trade mix only continued to grow — which is a great reason to not only approve more natural-gas projects, but to make short work of finally ending the crude-oil export ban, too.