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SPOTLIGHT

1. NATURAL GAS

Export prospects come with Jones Act questions

One of the first acts that George Washington signed into law as president was a measure designed to protect American shippers by granting them favored treatment in serving domestic ports. That history is carried forward today in what is known as the Jones Act, a 1920 law that, among other things, requires that ships hauling cargoes between U.S. ports be built in the United States, registered to U.S. owners, staffed predominantly by U.S. crews and fly a U.S. flag. For potential domestic buyers of liquefied natural gas -- the supercooled form of the fuel that can be shipped via tanker to users physically isolated from pipeline infrastructure -- the Jones Act poses a unique challenge.

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