President Trump is expected to make U.S.-produced natural gas a key part of discussions when he meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this month, according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
"U.S. energy and technologies, including natural gas, are helping to build Prime Minister Modi's vision for a new India in creating thousands of U.S. jobs in the process," Spicer said. Trump is slated to meet with Modi June 26.
The Trump administration has raised the prospect of the U.S. and India increasing collaboration on natural gas exports from the United States. The U.S. has become a natural gas leader because of fracking and the shale boom, and India has a growing economy in search of new, reliable sources of energy.
"I think you can expect the two of them to set forth a vision to expand the U.S.-India partnership in an ambitious and worthy way for both countries' people," Spicer said.
U.S. natural gas exports to India have grown over the last year but have not been consistent, according to U.S. data released last month by the Energy Information Administration. U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas increased from 3.1 million cubic feet to 3.6 million cubic feet between November and January but dropped off in March. Many countries ship more than that amount daily. Even though the U.S. is the largest natural gas producer in the world, it is a newcomer to exporting it.
Mideast producers Qatar and Iran are big trading partners with India for crude oil and natural gas. Qatar is the largest exporter of natural gas in the world, but a recent Saudi-backed naval blockade has begun interfering with those shipments. India is dependent on natural gas shipments from Qatar.
Trump said last week that he supports the blockade, while members of his cabinet underscored the problems it is creating. Saudi Arabia, together with a number of other Gulf countries, imposed sanctions on Qatar based on its support of Iranian-backed terrorist activities.