To Lift or Not to Lift? The U.S. Crude Oil Export Ban: Implications for Price and Energy Security

Center for Energy Studies, Baker Institute, Rice University / by Kenneth B. Medlock III

[Oil and Gas Journal]  Lifting the 40-year-old US crude oil export ban would benefit pricing, energy security, and petroleum investment, according to a new study issued by the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy in Houston.

Ending the ban would level the playing field for US producers who face deep discounts for light crude relative to globally traded grades, said Kenneth B. Medlock, the CES’s senior director who wrote the study.

Most US light, tight crude is of higher quality than both West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, and Brent, the current global light crude reference, he told reporters during a Washington briefing where the study was released. If it was exported, it would fetch higher prices globally than either WTI or Brent, Medlock said.

“Providing more global trading opportunities increases fungibility and enhances energy security,” he said. Global demand growth in the next 25-30 years will be driven by China, India, and other emerging Eastern Hemisphere economies, Medlock said. That will make the world look to other regions largely in the Western Hemisphere for additional supplies, he said…

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