The US Senate approved an omnibus budget bill including language which would repeal the 40-year-old ban on exports of domestically produced crude by 65 to 33 votes. The Dec. 18 action came hours after the House passed the same measure by 316 to 113 votes.
The bill now heads to the White House, where US President Barack Obama is expected to sign it. It won crucial support from several Democrats because it also would revive expired tax credits for alternative energy sources ranging from wind and solar to biodiesel.
Leading oil and gas industry associations immediately expressed their approval. “This is a historic moment in our energy renaissance,” American Petroleum Institute Pres. Jack N. Gerard said. “Lifting this ban will help put downward pressure on gas prices, create jobs, grow our economy and lower our trade deficit.”
“The US is producing more energy than ever before, with production at its highest levels in decades,” Independent Petroleum Association of America Pres. Barry Russell observed. “The ability to export surplus US crude oil is a much needed shot in the arm for America’s producers and the economy, and will generate significant savings for American families and consumers.”
“The American consumer is the beneficiary of today's decision by Congress,” said ConocoPhillips Chief Executive Ryan M. Lance, who also chairs Producers for American Crude Exports (PACE). “It's particularly important at a time when our industry is experiencing a period of extreme volatility and uncertainty
More work remains
National Ocean Industries Association Pres. Randall B. Luthi also applauded the congressional actions, but added that more needs to be done. “About 87% of America’s federal offshore areas remain closed off to oil and gas exploration and production. This is inexcusable and, quite frankly, backwards,” he said.
Other crude export ban repeal advocates welcomed the House and Senate votes. “Business leaders representing every sector of the US economy applaud Congress for voting to end the outdated ban on American oil exports,” said American Electric Power Co. Chief Executive Nicholas K. Akins, who chairs the Business Roundtable’s Energy and Environment Committee.
“By voting to lift the ban on oil exports, Congress has made it possible to unleash American energy around the world,” said Karen Harbert, president of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.
“By embracing a modernized policy that recognizes our newfound energy abundance, we are opening the door to increased jobs, economic growth, and the ability to act as a stable and secure energy supplier for our key allies,” said Margo Thorning, senior policy advisor for the American Council for Capital Formation.
Contact Nick Snow at firstname.lastname@example.org.