Wednesday, January 22, 2014
American Oil Companies Want To Export Petroleum
Oil producers want to use petroleum from the shale-energy boom to export a product that has a 40-year-old near-total ban on U.S. crude-oil exports. The law allows limited export licenses, and President Barack Obama could order the Commerce Department to loosen the rules for granting them. Or Congress could vote to overturn the ban altogether. The ban dates back to the Arab oil embargo of 1973.
Energy security concerns will probably prevent Congress or the president from lifting the ban anytime soon. Some believe that increasing exports could undermine the country's ability to reduce reliance on foreign oil. Another explanation is that in a midterm election year no politician wants to be blamed if gasoline prices go up no matter the reason.
The American Petroleum Institute, which represents oil and gas companies supports oil exports. The U.S. is already stepping up exports of refined petroleum products, which aren't restricted, but producers would like the option of exporting crude as well. (WSJ, 1/22/2014)