The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

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Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted October 14, 2014

Why Manufacturers Should Support Ending Crude Oil Export Ban

Huffington Post (Aspen Institute’s Thomas Duesterberg): The largely unanticipated boom in oil production in the last five years has revived a debate over whether the United States should reverse the forty-year old ban on exports of crude oil. Even though we still import around 30 percent of total crude and refined products, the U.S. refinery industry is unable to process much of the new supply of light crude oil produced from domestic light shale formations. In turn, domestic prices for light oil lag the world price and eventually could result in reduced levels of new production. Allowing exports would likely equalize domestic and world prices and also lead to more efficient global processing because many refineries abroad, especially in Europe, can do a better job than their U.S. counterparts. The United States would continue to import heavier grades of crude oil which its refineries are built to process.

The economics of the oil industry thus argue in favor of lifting the ban on crude oil exports. Many oppose this ban, however, arguing that it will raise prices domestically and diminish the chances of achieving self-sufficiency in supplies of their energy resources. Crude oil and related lease condensates still account for 21 percent of all U.S. energy use. Some industrial users, including prominent energy-intensive companies in sectors such as chemicals and steel, also argue that the current advantage the United States enjoys in oil (and related natural gas) prices would be undermined by exporting oil and consequently weaken one of the pillars of U.S. competitive advantage in world goods trade.

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Mary Schaper is a Digital Communications Manager for the American Petroleum Institute. She previously worked on Capitol Hill for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as Digital Director and for Senator Lisa Murkowski. Before coming to D.C., she spearheaded digital strategy for Murkowski's successful Senate write-in campaign in 2010. Schaper enjoys traveling and taking in the local culture alongside her husband, their son and loyal springer spaniel.