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The Source: The Push To Eliminate The Ban On Exporting Oil

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A 39-year ban that keeps American oil from leaving the country--except under special case-by-case permitting--is seeing a serious challenge to its existence.

The "tight-oil" revolution is playing out in shale deposits across the country, including just south of San Antonio in the Eagle Ford. It has boosted the supply of oil to near record levels in the US and has producers worried about possible falling prices, a domestic glut, that would slow expansion of oil development. 

American oil producers are arguing to ease the export restrictions.

The issue has divided a usually united energy industry, pitting oil producers vs. refiners. 

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Credit U.S. Energy Information Administration

Domestic refiners of oil are worried that changes could negatively impact their business, having to compete with international refineries. Several large refiners have formed a lobbying group called Consumers and Refiners United for Domestic Energy (CRUDE).

They have argued lifting the ban  would hurt American energy independence and security--their rationale being that if the domestic refinery market gets killed off or dramatically decreases there may not be adequate domestic capacity if our international partners are severed. 

The other argument commonly made is that gas prices will rise as a result. Many studies have been done to analyze this idea. One study found that prices would likely go down

Guests:

  • Russell Gold, senior energy reporter for the Wall Street Journal, author of the book "The Boom"
  • Stephen Brown, former analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, editor of the Journal of Energy Economics and a visiting fellow at Resources for the Future, a think tank devoted to natural resources and environmental issues
Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive