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Oil export ban, spending bill passes

CARLSBAD — The 40-year old oil export ban will be lifted after President Barack Obama signs a piece of legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate on Friday.

Lifting the ban on crude exports comes with the passing of the 2016 “Omnibus” spending bill. It is one of many policies included in the spending bill, which will fund the government until September 2016.

Lifting the ban on exporting oil would repeal restrictions on exports of products such as oil, which would allow Southeast New Mexico producers to put their oil on the world market.

New Mexico Oil and Gas Association Vice President and Director of Communications Wally Drangmeister said that the export ban lifting is excellent news for producers in New Mexico and the entire domestic industry.

“It’s not going to be a miracle, because the price of oil is so low,” Drangmeister said. “Anything that allows the free flow of oil in the interest of the industry is good.”

The $1.1 trillion government spending bill passed Friday morning in the House with a vote of 316 to 113 and passed the Senate with a vote of 65-33.

Not only is the lifting of the oil export ban a promising result of passing the bill, but it also contains measures that will provide five-year extensions of tax breaks to boost development of renewable energy.

Lawmakers from New Mexico in the House and Senate each played roles in passing the legislation.

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce said in a news release that voting to end the ban on crude oil exports is a victory for New Mexico and the economy.

Related: House backs sweeping energy bill to boost oil, natural gas

“Opening new markets for U.S. oil will boost production in New Mexico and throughout the West,” Pearce said in the news release. “The benefit will not only be seen in the oil counties, but rather statewide, as oil and gas revenues contribute roughly 40 percent of New Mexico’s state budget.”

Pearce said that schools, roads and hospitals throughout the state will see benefits with the increased oil and gas production associated with exportation.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich favored the bill and the oil export ban being lifted with the additional policies that would encourage renewable energy.

Heinrich said in a news release on Thursday that the bipartisan agreement will help create jobs in New Mexico and support the state’s economy.

“I’m pleased that a change in policy of this magnitude, to lift the 40-year old ban on oil exports, is paired with strong, multi-year clean energy incentives that will move us toward our climate goals, including wind and solar tax credits,” Heinrich said in news release.

In addition to the lifting of the oil export ban, included in the 2016 spending bill is funding for national laboratories in New Mexico, as well as, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

According to a news release from U.S. Sen. Tom Udall’s office, WIPP will be receiving $305 million with the new spending bill, with $82 million being dedicated to recovery activities.

“This bill will support jobs and economic development in every corner of our state,” Udall said. “Funding for our national labs and military bases will ensure New Mexico can continue contributing to our national security and tomorrow’s technological breakthroughs.

(c)2015 the Carlsbad Current-Argus (Carlsbad, N.M.)

This article was written by Sarah A. Matott from Carlsbad Current-Argus, N.M. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.