On December 19, 2018, the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, (DOE/FE) published in the Federal Register a proposed interpretive rule to clarify certain DOE regulations governing the export of natural gas, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), under the Natural Gas Act (NGA). Under DOE’s regulations, any person seeking authorization to export natural gas from the United States, or to amend an existing export authorization, must provide DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy (DOE/FE) with a copy of “all relevant contracts and purchase agreements.” DOE is proposing this interpretive rule to clarify the types of contracts and purchase agreements associated with the export of natural gas that DOE considers to be “relevant” for purposes of these regulations. DOE’s regulations also impose a “continuing obligation” on authorization holders to notify DOE/FE “as soon as practicable” of any prospective or actual changes to the information submitted during the application process upon which the authorization was issued, including “the terms and conditions of any applicable contracts.” In this proposed interpretative rule, DOE is seeking to clarify the phrase “as soon as practicable” to mean within 30 days of the execution of the contracts.

Public comment on this proposed interpretive rule will be accepted until January 18, 2019.