The fight to allow crude oil exports continues in the heart of the United States shale boom: Texas.
Republican Representative Joe Barton and Democratic Representative Gene Greene were the main contenders this week, pressing legislation in lifting and keeping the long-standing ban respectively.
Rep. Barton points out that most of the policy surrounding the original ban has been dissolved over time, and that it’s time to remove the ban altogether.
He claims that lifting the ban would create more jobs, lower gas prices, and be a boon to the American economy. Selling the surplus oil from our shale resources would create opportunities for foreign buyers, bringing more money into the country.
Foreign trades could also provide better relations with Eastern Europe and more negotiation room with Russia.
Greene went on to list reasons for keeping the ban in place, suggesting that removing the ban would raise gas prices, hurt American economy, and threaten national security.
“Exports may help oil companies, but will they really benefit consumers?” asks Democratic Representative Frank Pallone.
Greene’s main arguments stem from the major growth in refinery capacity and structure. Texas has the largest crude oil refinery capacity in the country, and has recently upgraded some refineries to be able to process light sweet crude, the kind that is most often found in the U.S.
So it’s not very surprising to hear that Greene would rather have us invest more in refinery upgrades, rather than exports.
That said, Greene is not entirely against exports, and the Democratic Rep. allows that some applications for exporting to specific countries could be an acceptable way to sell U.S. oil without making the country overly-vulnerable to the volatile market conditions.
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