WSJ: Producers want to lift U.S. ban on oil exports

A glut of domestic oil is piling up at Gulf Coast refineries, driving down prices and leading some producers to push for an end to the ban on U.S. exports of oil, according to The Wall Street Journal.

U.S. oil production is expected to reach 7.7 million barrels a day in 2014, largely as a result of production from shale formations in North Dakota and Texas. The federal Energy Information Administration has predicted crude production will jump by 24 percent to a record 9.6 million barrels a day by 2019. The record was set in 1970.

But the boom won’t happen if oil prices plummet.

The oil industry is hoping to avoid that. In late 2013, the industry’s main lobbying group, the American Petroleum Institute, announced it wanted to end the ban. Changing the policy will take time. Supporters will have to overcome a considerable amount of opposition. Some opponents say U.S. oil exports could hurt consumers, forcing them to pay higher prices. Others question the impact exports would have on national security.

The export movement could get a boost if Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is named chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the article says. Landrieu’s pro-industry stance is well-known and “she is believed to be willing to engage in the export debate.”

Meanwhile, the committee’s ranking Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, plans to issue a white paper on oil exports.

See the full WSJ story here.