CERAWeek: Murkowski to introduce bill this year to lift oil export ban

US Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.) told IHS CERAWeek in Houston that she plans this year to introduce legislation to repeal the decades-old ban on US exports of crude oil.

“We shouldn’t lift sanctions on Iranian oil while we are keeping sanctions on American oil,” Murkowski said on Apr. 20. “It makes no sense.” She is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips chairman and chief executive officer, agreed the export ban should be lifted. Lance also said US policymakers need to lift the roadblocks on development of energy infrastructure, such as the stalled Keystone XL pipeline, and consider opening more federal assets for oil exploration.

Lance said it’s important for industry to support Murkowski’s efforts to push through legislation this year, ahead of the 2016 elections when he believes changes in legislation would be more difficult.

Regarding oil prices, Lance said, “We’ve taken our capital down, we’re cutting back on drilling projects, and moving to reduce costs.” He noted ConocoPhillips is poised to ramp up its activities, particularly on US unconventional plays, when an oil price recovery seems sustainable.

ConocoPhillips is ready to ramp up activities in the South Texas Eagle Ford, the Bakken formation in North Dakota, the Permian, and also Canada when feasible, he said, adding he is looking for an assurance that US light, sweet crude oil prices will stay at least in the $60-70/bbl price range on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

*Paula Dittrick is editor of OGJ’s Unconventional Oil & Gas Report.

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