May 30, 2019 12:24 pm
Updated: May 30, 2019 1:48 pm

‘Molecules of freedom’: U.S. rebrands natural gas as it increases exports

WATCH: Amid a trade war with China, the U.S. rebrands liquified natural gas (LNG).

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The U.S. Department of Energy has apparently rebranded liquefied natural gas (LNG) as “freedom gas.”

The new title was first used in a news release announcing additional exports of LNG out of Texas.

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“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,” U.S. Undersecretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes said in the May 28 release.

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Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg used a slightly different term when talking about LNG, but the theme of freedom stayed present.

“I am pleased that the Department of Energy is doing what it can to promote an efficient regulatory system that allows for molecules of U.S. freedom to be exported to the world,” he said in the release.

And earlier this month, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry also used the theme of freedom to promote U.S. LNG in Brussels.

“The United States is again delivering a form of freedom to the European continent, and rather than in the form of young American soldiers, it’s in the form of liquefied natural gas,” Perry said, according to online news site Euractiv.

Global News reached out for comment on the new name for LNG, but hasn’t heard back from the Department of Energy.

The new name garnered ridicule on social media.

“This has to be a joke,” tweeted Jay Inslee, one of the Democrats running for the presidential nomination.

The rebranding comes amid a trade war between the U.S. and China — and LNG is one of the causalities.

Data shows no U.S. LNG shipping vessels have gone to the country in March or April, Reuters reported.

In 2018, 27 LNG vessels went from the United States to China, down from 30 in 2017. Most of those, however, left U.S. ports before the trade war started, with 18 tankers going to China in the first half of the year and just nine during the second half.

WATCH: Latest news videos on China-U.S. trade war

Previous rebrandings

It’s not the first time the U.S. has rebranded a commodity.

After France refused to join the U.S. in its 2003 Iraq war, the U.S. House cafeteria renamed French fries “freedom fries.” (NBC reports that French toast was also renamed “freedom toast” at the time.)

Trump has also hinted at his approval of the rebranding strategy. After two Boeing 737 MAX planes crashed and the rest of the models were grounded, the president said the company should “FIX” and “REBRAND” the plane.

Trump, who brands his hotels, golf courses and buildings with the Trump name, tweeted sarcastically: “What the hell do I know about branding, maybe nothing (but I did become President!)”

READ MORE: Donald Trump says Boeing should ‘fix’ and ‘rebrand’ grounded 737 MAX jet

—With files from Reuters and the Associated Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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