Oil export plans draw inquiry from legislators

Oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and BP raised eyebrows across the U.S. with the announcement last week of new plans to export crude oil from the Bakken region northward to Canada, drawing a response from legislators, according to Reuters.

Congressman Edward Markey, a representative from Massachusetts and the senior Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, urged federal regulators to release information about the proposals.

"It is imperative to ensure that the House Natural Resources Committee is aware of and can evaluate the nature of these applications and what they are proposing with respect to the export of crude oil produced in the United States," Markey told acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank in a letter.

Markey has been a strident critic of plans to increase exports of American energy resources, including new coal and liquid natural gas terminals.

Reuters' John Kemp suggests that limitations in domestic oil refinery capacity, as well as a lack of sufficient oil pipeline infrastructure, could ultimately force the export of more light, sweet crude oil as production rises in North Dakota.

Oil production outlooks for North Dakota are available at PennEnergy's Research area.

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