Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Graves: The case for ending the oil export ban

(From Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves)

A few weeks ago, Congress agreed to end a 40-year ban on U.S. oil exports

Lifting the outdated policy adds jobs and increases American revenues. It also sets the stage for America to be the leader in global energy markets.

But most importantly, while all major economies in the world still rely on oil, the decision ensures energy markets can remain stable when oil producing nations in Africa and the Middle East are not.

The ban was first put in place after the 1973 Arab oil embargo, which was designed to punish the U.S. for its support for Israel. But over the last decade, the U.S. has experienced a renaissance of domestic energy production, driven by revolutionary advances in U.S. shale oil production.

In fact, we already export more refined oil than we import every year. Ending the oil export ban will allow us to take advantage of our domestic crude oil as well.

The price difference between oil produced in the U.S. and the Middle East is very small, so it is unlikely that a significant amount of U.S. oil would be shipped overseas anytime soon. But what is important is that America now has the ability to take the lead in stabilizing global economies and energy markets should oil production in other countries be disrupted by violence, terrorism or natural disaster.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, we produce about 9.2 million barrels per day, which is nearly 10% of the world’s oil supply. Domestic oil production has almost doubled in the past five years, up from about 5,000 barrels per day in mid-2010.

Right now, Iraq, Syria and Libya are some of the biggest oil producers on earth. But all three have oil fields that are either threatened by or under control of terrorist organizations, including ISIS.

It is critical for the U.S. to have this ability to protect global economies by fulfilling our allies' energy needs, should that time come. I am proud that Congress acted to fix this misguided and outdated policy.

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