Enhancing efforts to lift the oil export ban

On May 19, US Senators Heidi Heitkamp and Lisa Murkpwski introduced legislation to complement their bipartisan bill, which was introduced last week, to help lift the outdated, 40 year ban on exporting American crude oil. The new legislation aims to end the export ban while clarifying some key pieces of the initial legislation the Senators introduced to make it as strong and comprehensive as possible. The new bill seeks to reinforce the need to lift the oil export ban by going line by line through federal laws already on the books to strike any mention of or reference to the prohibitions on crude oil exports under certain conditions, and make sure that removing the ban would not have an adverse impact domestically by looking at a broad range of items and indicators. US Senators Joe Manchin and Bob Corker joined Heitkamp and Murkowski in introducing the ‘American Crude Oil Export Equality Act.’

The ban

The ban currently compromises American competitiveness and security by unduly restricting the ability of American crude oil producers to export and sell their products outside of American borders. Heitkamp and Murkowski are working to lift the 1970s era ban by aiming to promote long term stability of crude oil prices for consumers, to spur investments in US energy production, support and grow energy sector jobs, and to promote long term stability by reducing the US trade deficit and boosting national energy security.

Numerous studies have reportedly shown that lifting the ban on exporting US crude oil would likely have a positive impact on economic growth and energy development across the US. Recent reports from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, the Brookings Institution and IHS have shown that lifting the ban and allowing access to the global markets would more than likely lower gasoline prices.

What the bill would do

The bill would harness American energy resources and strengthen the main bill to lift the ban on American oil exports with the following:

  • Promoting fair treatment of energy exports by authorising crude and condensate oil produced in the US to be exported on the same basis as petroleum exports.
  • Defining the limitations of presidential authority by giving the President the ability to impose restrictions on oil exports for up to one calendar year under special circumstances.
  • Analysing the long term impact on consumers and energy production by requiring the Government Accountability office to analyse the impact of the lifted oil import ban is having on energy production across the US, consumers, independent oil refiners, as well as shipbuilders and ship repair yards.

Edited from press release by Claira Lloyd

Published on 20/05/2015


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