Posted September 2, 2014
Reuters reports that Washington is hearing from more allies who want the U.S. to lift its ban on crude oil exports, with South Korea and Mexico joining the European Union in pressing the case for U.S. oil. Reuters:
South Korean President Park Geun-hye told a visiting U.S. delegation of lawmakers on the House of Representatives energy committee on Aug. 11 that tapping into the gusher of ultra-light, sweet crude emerging from places like Texas and North Dakota was a priority, the lawmakers said. One of South Korea's leading refiners has opened discussions with the government in Seoul over how to encourage Washington to open the taps, three sources in South Korea with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Mexico is also eagerly awaiting word from the U.S. Department of Commerce on possible shipments and the EU wants U.S. oil and natural gas exports covered by a proposed trade agreement with Washington, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
South Korea imports 97 percent of its energy and has felt pressure to curb purchases from Iran, once a primary supplier, since 2012 when U.S. and EU sanctions were imposed, Reuters reports. South Korea’s Park expressed specific interest in U.S. condensate exports during a meeting with members of Congress earlier this summer. Reuters quoted James Kim of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul:
“Depending on one source too much raises risks. If we have various sources to import crude including the United States, it will help reduce price fluctuations.”
Reuters reports Mexico is seeking U.S. oil as its own reserves decline. Japan also is monitoring U.S. oil production, the wire service said.
Interest in American crude oil exports comes amid a domestic energy boom that is accelerating the U.S. toward world leadership in crude output, which the International Energy Agency expects next year. The U.S. already is No. 1 in natural gas production – which, in the face of Russian behavior in Ukraine has prompted a push for the export of American liquefied natural gas (LNG) by countries that are primarily dependent on Russia for natural gas.
President Obama is going to Estonia for meetings with Baltic leaders before this week’s NATO summit, where Reuters reports it is expected that Russia will be warned against interfering in that region.
Harnessing U.S. energy, bringing it to bear on world energy markets, would strengthen U.S. diplomacy. The simple news that American energy will enter into available world supplies would have impact – for friends and adversaries alike. API President and CEO Jack Gerard in a recent interview with Bloomberg TV:
“Too often when we talk about sanctions we think of it in a negative context about punitive measures to punish others. We think there’s another dynamic here that should be part of the dialogue, and that is what the Europeans have been asking us to do. And that is to look at our domestic production, both of natural gas and crude oil, and to begin plans to export that to wean the European economy off Russian energy. … It’s the signal that it sends today. Many of the punitive sanctions being talked about today have very short-term impact. What we need to think about is the longer-term, geo-political implications of what we’re doing. The United States has the ability to become the energy superpower in the world, and we need to align that energy policy with our geo-politics such that we bring those allies close, we reassure them that they’ve got energy in the future, and that will change that dynamic. … We have leverage like we’ve never had before.”
Additionally, Paul Driessen argues on Townhall.com that increased production of U.S. crude oil and natural gas is critical to fending off an “energy 9/11” caused by rising global demand and that exporting American energy would help counter terrorism:
Tapping into our nation’s vast oil and natural gas supplies would even allow us to export oil, natural gas and refined products. That would help our allies and trading partners become less dependent on terror-sponsoring oil producers and Russian “oiligarch” blackmailers – until they can get their act together on fracking. Such sales would also reduce our trade deficit and create much-needed American jobs. … Instead of waiting for an energy 9/11 to hit, President Obama and members of Congress are duty-bound to act now on all these steps, and more, to protect America’s national security. They must stop ignoring the imminent and growing threats of energy and energy-funded terrorism that America and the world face – before we run out of time to prepare for and prevent the potential onslaughts.
It’s our choice. By choosing American energy – increasing domestic oil and natural gas production by opening access to new reserves and allowing exports to friendly buyers overseas – the United States can affect world energy supplies in positive ways – providing domestic benefits, helping allies and countering the energy leverage of others abroad.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.