At the center of that business, a DeSmog investigation has demonstrated, is a fast-track export lane for gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the United States. The expanded Canal in both depth and width equates to a shortened voyage to Asia and also means the vast majority of liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers — 9-percent before versus 88-percent now — can now fit through it.
Emails and documents obtained under open records law show that LNG exports have, for the past several years, served as a centerpiece for promotion of the Canal’s expansion by the U.S. Gulf of Mexico-based Port of Lake Charles.
And the oil and gas industry, while awaiting the Canal expansion project’s completion, lobbied for and achieved passage of a federal bill that expanded the water depth of a key Gulf-based port set to feed the fracked gas export boom.
Control of the Panama Canal by U.S. big business and Wall Street has, for over a century, served as a focal point of U.S. foreign policy in the Americas.
While no longer in de facto control of the isthmus as it was during the days of the Panama Canal Zone, Jill Biden’s presence as part of an official Presidential Delegation at the expanded Canal’s opening ceremony symbolized the importance of the waterway and de jure role of the U.S. government in pushing for its expansion over the past several years. So too did the attendance of the U.S. military’s Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).
And in turn, the reported participation of LNG exports giant Cheniere Energy at the kick-off serves as a portrayal of the importance of the Canal’s expansion to the oil and gas industry. The Panama Canal Authority estimates that 20 million tons of LNG may pass through on an annual basis.
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