The US emphasized to importers of liquefied natural gas that the Biden administration’s freeze on new approvals for exports is a “pause” that does not threaten the flow of vital energy supplies.  

“I’ve found that our allies who raise these issues with me tend to be quickly reassured when you explain to them what this is — which is a pause,” US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Geoffrey Pyatt said during an online media briefing on Monday.

Approvals of new licenses for LNG export plants in the US have been halted while their potential effects on climate change, the economy and national security are reviewed, the US Energy Department said last month. But the country’s LNG shipments are still on track to almost double by the end of the decade due to a lineup of already licensed facilities, Pyatt said. 

The US move prompted concerns from major importers that future supplies could be disrupted. Japan’s Trade Minister Ken Saito said that his nation would take the necessary steps to ensure energy security amid risks to future American production. 

“There is no reason for concern among our allies, whether they be in Asia, like Japan, or in Europe,” Pyatt said. “We will see where the pause proceeds as a result of the domestic reviews.”

Toby Rice, chief executive officer of EQT Corp., the largest US natural gas producer, is poised to tell lawmakers at a House hearing Tuesday that “playing politics” needs to stop and that the moratorium must be lifted.

“We have an opportunity to provide a lifeline to the globe and to show how other countries can eventually follow in our footsteps,” Rice said in his written testimony to the Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security.