Murkowski, Heitkamp introduce bill to end US crude oil export ban

US Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) jointly introduced legislation that would end a 40-year ban on exports of crude oil produced in the US. Eleven more Senate Republicans cosponsored the measure.

US Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) jointly introduced legislation that would end a 40-year ban on exports of crude oil produced in the US. Eleven more Senate Republicans cosponsored the measure.

“America’s energy landscape has changed dramatically since the export ban was put in place in the 1970s,” said Murkowski, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “We have moved from energy scarcity to energy abundance. Unfortunately, our energy policies have not kept pace.”

Heitkamp separately said, “The 1970s-era ban on exporting American crude oil is as outdated as the typewriters on which the policy was written. It’s past time for an upgrade.”

An American Petroleum Institute official applauded the senators’ May 13 action. “There are few policy changes that would bring more value to our domestic economy,” Executive Vice-Pres. Louis Finkel said. “Supplying energy to our allies will cement America’s future as a global energy superpower, allowing us to produce more energy, create more jobs, cut the trade deficit, grow the economy, and put downward pressure on fuel costs.”

API also joined the Independent Petroleum Association of America, US Chamber of Commerce, American Exploration & Production Council, US Oil & Gas Association, and Producers for American Crude Oil Exports in a May 13 letter thanking Murkowski and Heitkamp for introducing the bill.

“The Energy Supply and Distribution Act draws a carefully crafted balance by opening the world marketplace to the export of US crude oil while reaffirming the authority of the president to constrain exports when compelling national interests require it,” the groups said.

“This balance assures that the American economy can benefit from the vast crude oil resource base that is now available for development while being protected if there is ever a need to do so,” they said.

Producers who have tapped US tight shales have argued their light crude has to be deeply discounted because it can’t reach global markets. Several US refiners have said that Jones Act and other transportation issues should be addressed before the 1975 crude export ban is repealed.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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