Current administration policy discourages imports of liquefied natural gas, which, if encouraged, could double by 1990 and meet as much as 7 to 13 percent of US natural-gas needs. This is ne of the major findings of a report on LNG imports released today by the congressional Office of Technology Assessment. Natural gas now accounts for about 24 percent of total US energy use and about 33 percent of residential heating and cooling use.
According to OTA estimates, LNG imports "could expand from the currently approved level of 0.8 trillion cubic feet per year to between 1.3 and 1.8 trillion cubic feet per year" during the 1980s. In addition to terminal facilities already planned, three or four large terminals would have to be built to reach the maximum 1.8 trillion cubic feet per year level, according to the OTA report.