Energy conference opens with focus on US pause in LNG exports

Government officials and business leaders from around the world have gathered in the United States to discuss energy issues, with a focus on the US pausing its approval of liquefied natural gas exports.

The annual CERAWeek international conference, organized by the US financial services firm S&P Global, is usually attended by around 7,000 people from some 90 countries.

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm delivered a speech at the opening of the conference in Houston, Texas, on Monday.

Granholm referred to the announcement by President Joe Biden's administration in January that it had paused approvals for applications to export LNG.

She said that researchers are conducting a data-based assessment of what a further US expansion of LNG exports would mean for the world climate, calling the pause temporary.

She also stressed the need to invest in renewable energy projects, saying the transition to clean energy is inevitable.

Environmental protection groups calling for a transition from fossil fuels hailed the pause as an epoch-making decision made by the US, the world's largest exporter of LNG.

But the energy industry is concerned that the measure may undermine some countries' efforts to reduce their dependence on Russian natural gas, and cause energy prices to increase.

Discussions will continue from the viewpoint of implementing measures for energy security and against climate change until the conference wraps up on Friday.