In what some consider a strange attempt at rebranding, two officials with the Department of Energy have begun using “freedom gas” and “molecules of US freedom” to replace the common phrase “natural gas.” The alternative terminology was used in a press release that discussed the expansion of a Liquified Natural Gas – or LNG – terminal at a US facility.
Steven Winberg, the Department of Energy’s Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, according to a report by Ars Technica, stated, “With the US in another year of record-setting natural gas production, I am pleased that the Department of Energy is doing what it can to promote an efficient regulatory system that allows for molecules of US freedom to be exported to the world.”
In a press release, Mark W. Menezes, the US Under Secretary of Energy, also used one of the alternative phrases. “Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America’s allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy,” said Menezes.
The term “freedom gas” may have originated from a statement made by Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry and a subsequent joke about his choice of phrasing made by a reporter. During an event earlier this year, Perry signed an order that doubled the amount of LNG exports to Europe.
“The United States is again delivering a form of freedom to the European continent,” said Perry. “And rather than in the form of young American soldiers, it’s in the form of liquefied natural gas.”
A reporter at the event, likely in jest, asked if the shipments should be referred to as “freedom gas.” Perry replied, “I think you may be correct in your observation.”
It isn’t clear whether the Department of Energy will adopt the terms formally or if they will be used in internal department communications or when addressing the public going forward.
Last year, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration, Canada, Japan, Mexico, and South Korea were the top importers of molecules of US freedom. China, India, and the UK also purchased freedom gas from the US, though in smaller amounts.