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Congressman to introduce bill to lift U.S. oil export ban

WASHINGTON, Dec 8 (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Joe Barton will introduce a bill on Tuesday to lift the 40-year ban on exports of crude oil, but the measure has almost no chance of passing due to lawmaker concerns about fuel prices and costs to refiners.

Barton, a Republican from Texas, will introduce a bill to lift the export ban Congress passed in the 1970s after the Arab oil embargo led to fears of fuel shortages, an aide said.

The lawmaker will introduce the measure ahead of a hearing later this week by the House of Representatives subcommittee on energy and power on whether the export restriction makes sense amid the domestic drilling boom.

“The Congressman is planning to drop his bill tomorrow … and he hopes the timing will make it a centerpiece piece of conversation at Thursday’s hearing,” the Barton aide said.

Barton, a member of the committee, believes lifting the ban would spark the economy, create hundreds of thousands of jobs and help lower gasoline prices.

Related: The oil export ban calamity.

A spokeswoman for the committee said there are many factors to consider on the export ban “and we welcome Rep. Barton’s and all members’ ideas and contributions to this debate as we move forward.”

The bill would also require the Department of Energy to report to Congress on the appropriate size and composition of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The drilling boom has led to a glut of light crude along the Gulf Coast refining hub. The United State has more crude in the SPR than required under global agreements and could sell some of the sweet crude to markets in Asia and Europe without any risk to energy security, analysts have said.

Barton could reintroduce the bill next year, but it would still face an uphill battle because many Republican lawmakers have not come out in support of crude exports. Some large oil refiners fear that lifting the restriction would increase costs and say they can retool their plants to use more light crude.

In the Senate, incoming energy committee chairman Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, is the most vocal supporter of relaxing the crude oil ban. Early in her term, she will likely work to persuade the Obama administration to relax the ban. If the administration does not act, she may try to introduce legislation, but it is uncertain whether she would have the 60 votes necessary to pass such a measure.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Marguerita Choy) Copyright (2014) Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions


  1. As long as we are IMPORTING oil, why are we even considering EXPORTING a single drop? How does selling oil produced here on the world market help anyone but the oil companies? All it would do is cause us to have to import even more, and would RAISE gasoline prices by reducing domestic supply.

  2. No sure what to think?!?! We are net importers of crude to the tune of 4 to 5 million barrels daily. What would be gain to the US economy in total? Again we import 4 to 5 million barrels daily. I am reasonable and can be persuaded on this, but I need to see the benefit.

    • The global oil market is about transport. It’s all about supply line economics. If you can sell to one place for more than you pay to buy from another then that is what you do.

    • So then the “domestic production to ensure energy security, independence and to keep costs down” isn’t an actual goal?

    • If we only produce 10 million bopd and consume 19 million bopd how is it of any good to anyone other than big oil, and why shouldn’t Canada put there’s on the world market instead of selling to us.

    • Canada is working on it. They quit waiting for the pipeline so they’re going to build their own.

    • It’s simple. US companies DO NOT CONTROL PRICES. Why? Because OPEC dominates the market, the biggest stick in the game. If companies can sell to a bigger market such as Europe and Asia we can push more product for less. Meaning no more temp cheap gas because gas is about to sky rocket so don’t be shocked when it does. If companies increase their market share then they take some of OPECS customers then they no longer can wake up one morning and decide to crash the global energy market. They see our boom as a threat to steal their market shares and they should be alarmed because a fight is coming!

    • We can’t produce oil as cheaply as other exporters, how can we compete with countries who play slave labor to produce oil?

    • Our shale oil is better quality and sells for higher. It is easier to set up refineries in developing countries. Our refineries are set up for heavier oils because that’s all we’ve had. We can sell high and buy cheap making America come out ahead. And to answer your next question about building refineries here to process our oil. It costs way more and s hard to find investors because the EPA has to do a study which takes a couple years then they change the laws and have to re-evaluate then repeat so it ends up costing more than planned and their money is tied up too long with no return on investment.

    • There is not many companies that pay “slave labor”. In fact you make way more money traveling to other countries. We can’t produce oil as cheap because of the expensive processes to get it out of the ground in shale formations. Horizontal drilling and multi-stage fracing is expensive.

  3. Don’t think this would be good. Someone would have to show me how that would benefit things. The net looks to be higher profits possibly for oil companies. They need to ban exports on propane and lots of different imports.

  4. Why do we export agricultural products?

  5. No export and no import. Period

  6. Apparently most of you are unaware that we NOW export over 4million bpd of gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products. There is no export restrictions on refined products.

    Of course it has raised prices and created shortages.

    Oh, wait.

  7. Lift the ban, should have been done years ago, we would have gotten out of the recession much faster. Our economy will expand dramatically when we stop importing Oil.

  8. Don’t we already EXPORT TO CANADA to get it refined?!

  9. Low oil hurts oil exporters the most and helps countries who import it, so how is making us an exporter going to help us?

  10. this should never be allowed to happen

  11. We need to increase refineries. If we are going to export, then let’s continue and increase our refined fuels export. The EPA is the reason our fuel prices are high.

  12. The US is now the largest oil producing nation in the world. Feds just cut drilling permits by 40% due to an excess in our reserves. Exporting would allow continued drilling and break the bank of OPEC and Russia. It would also lower prices at the pump. Oh wait, no it won’t the Government will just increase the Fuel Tax

  13. Do not give any country our knowledge of facking.

  14. but you guys don’t want to lower gas prices ….. arrrg you post such nonsense!

  15. Gas prices are over-inflated due to the federal government. If we could build more refineries the price would lower dramatically. Plus check what kind of taxes you pay per gallon. The government makes more than the oil companies

  16. Seems like you have to sell your product to another country while buying the same product from another country and call it supply and demand

  17. Keep every bit of it here. Im live in an oil field family and yeah it would be nice but for the greater good we have to keep it here. We can produce a lot but we are still importing so there is no point

  18. The new pipeline is the only reason for this. We cant export oil but we can gasoline. Everything has a negative side

  19. EPA controls a big portion of the permits for refineries. Greatly restricting the development of new refineries. And because we can’t export crude oil but can export refined fuel the manufactures sell it elsewhere. This creates restricted supply and high demand which equals higher gas prices. If we had more refineries we would see a drop in fuel prices. Plus our crude would become competitive because we would save transport. Kansas needs to become a central refining hub for the US economy.

  20. Keep on drilling kids love ya all

  21. Selling whet we have to only have to but it back at a higher price when we have depleted our resources later is stupid. Live for tomorrow not today. Smh

  22. “F” you Congressman. American oil should be used for American citizens only…..

  23. Oil is a global market. If we want to stop OPEC from setting prices we have to get our oil into the market. Our oil doesn’t all stay here it is refined and then sold elsewhere.

  24. The difference is we need 3 more additional refineries in this country. That will really let us become independent

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