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CLDP Conducts ASEAN Council on Petroleum (ASCOPE) Consultations in DC and Houston


On July 22-26, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) hosted Government representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Washington, DC, and Houston, TX. The purpose of the ASEAN Council on Petroleum (ASCOPE) consultations was to enhance the technical capacity of the participants as their governments work to create an environment conducive to increased economic and energy connectivity. During the consultations, participants learned about oil and gas pipeline safety standards, regulation of cross-border pipelines, and pipeline alternatives.

The delegation met with U.S. government representatives from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to discuss pipeline facility safety and the siting and permitting process. They also heard presentations from the White & Case law firm and officials from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy about natural gas pipelines and permitting liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities. The participants were particularly interested in land rights (including eminent domain takings) and public involvement.

The delegation also met with the American Petroleum Institute (API), the leading oil and gas industry trade association, to provide an overview of the organization, it’s structure, global work, and areas of potential collaboration. Participants were interested in learning about the process of adopting API standards, including the newly established Pipeline Safety Management Systems (standard 1173) which came out of recent high-profile accidents. The delegation also met with API’s Center of Offshore Safety (COS), which focuses solely on safety and environmental management issues, to discuss their structure and focus on collaboration between the government and industry.

Additionally, the participants had an overview of the U.S. natural gas market including production, consumption, infrastructure, and capacity. The session also discussed the regulatory framework and the role of the federal and state agencies. Participants were particularly interested in LNG, U.S. LNG export capacity, import/export licensing and permitting for LNG facilities, and U.S. LNG pricing and contract mechanisms. The week-long consultations concluded with a round table with LNG companies to discuss LNG market.

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