WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress has passed the omnibus appropriations bill, H.R. 2029, which includes an important provision lifting the existing US crude oil export ban. The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) says that US oil exports will strengthen America’s national and energy security and result in substantial benefits for consumers and job creation across the country.
Although the bill did not include a key priority for the offshore energy industry – statutory language requiring incorporation of industry’s significant concerns in the final Well Control Rule proposed by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) – NOIA says it played an instrumental role in inclusion of language requesting additional dialogue between Congress and the administration regarding potential negative impacts of the proposed rule.
NOIA says it will continue to work with members of Congress to leverage the language toward constructive actions from the administration and/or additional legislative initiatives in the New Year.
NOIA President Randall Luthi commented on the bill: “The US is a top producer of oil and natural gas. Lifting the outdated ban on oil exports is a significant step in our national energy strategy that will grow our economy, strengthen America’s national security and provide real benefits to consumers. Allowing US crude oil to be sold on the world market levels the playing field with oil exporting countries. Study after study has shown that lifting the ban will boost economic growth, lower gas prices, and create new American jobs.”
In extended remarks, he also commented upon the “unnecessarily burdensome and unpredictable federal regulations” in both the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska that “hurt America’s long-term energy outlook and could put at risk the nearly 20% of our nation’s domestic oil and natural gas supply that is produced in our offshore areas.”
Luthi noted that the proposed Well Control Rule issued by BSEE, while designed to promote safety, “could actually have the opposite effect of decreasing safety and increasing risk of offshore operations.”
If the rule is finalized without substantial modifications to address safety concerns, he said: “a de facto moratorium could ensue in the Gulf of Mexico, jeopardizing nearly one-fifth of our nation’s oil and gas supply. Congress had an opportunity to address this issue as part of the omnibus. While NOIA was disappointed by the absence of this legislative provision, we are pleased that report language was provided that encourages BSEE to further examine the rule and provide additional information to Congress before the rule is finalized. We look forward to continuing to work with both Congress and the administration to improve the proposed rule and ensure the safest operations offshore.”