API: Energy exports boost US economic vitality, diplomatic strength

American energy exports are revitalizing the economy and shifting the balance of power around the world, as shown by the Aug. 6 trade report from the US Department of Commerce, said American Petroleum Institute Chief Economist John Felmy.

According to the report, US exports in goods and services totaled $2,280 billion in 2013, up from $2,216 billion in 2012. The US trade deficit in 2013 decreased by $61 billion from 2012. Exports in this year’s first half were $1,159 billion compared with $1,127 billion and $1,101 billion for the same periods of 2013 and 2012, respectively.

The report also showed that exports of crude oil and petroleum products are up from the same month last year more than $1.2 billion to $12.7 billion. For year-to-date, the total trade deficit for crude oil and petroleum products is down $20.4 billion from the same period last year.

“Domestic oil and natural gas production helped drive record exports last year, and our ability to impact global markets continues to grow,” said Felmy.

But he emphasized that outdated trade restrictions that prevent more US oil and natural gas from reaching global markets hampers America’s potential as an energy superpower. Lifting these barriers will mean more jobs and a more powerful position—both economically and diplomatically.

“Already, innovations in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have allowed US energy exports to put a major dent in the trade deficit. If policymakers act now to allow free trade, US energy exports can further reduce the impact of unrest overseas and limit the influence of foreign suppliers that dominate other markets. And studies show that American crude oil exports will promote higher energy production and put downward pressure on prices for consumers,” said Felmy.

He added, “By acting now, we can send a major signal to world markets that competitors overseas cannot ignore. Congress and the administration must act quickly to accelerate Department of Energy approval of LNG projects and lift 70’s-era restrictions on crude oil exports.”

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