ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) is just the second company to gain approval to export liquefied natural gas to countries not tied to the U.S. via a free trade agreement. These non-FTA countries are hungry for the cheaper imports that we could provide, but the approval process is about to come under higher scrutiny during a Senate forum today.

With 19 projects still in the pipeline, the Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission certainly have their work cut out for them. However, given the sheer size of project capacity, it is unlikely that the majority of them will be approved any time soon. Given that the domestic price of natural gas must be protected, unchecked exports are a near impossibility. For now, only Cheniere Energy (NYSEMKT:LNG) and ConocoPhillips have this ability. What are the near-term expectations of our analysts?

Joel South has no position in any stocks mentioned. Taylor Muckerman owns shares of Cheniere Energy. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.