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By Ari Natter
Feb. 26 — A repeal of the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports is unlikely to be included in comprehensive energy legislation being drafted by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) told Bloomberg BNA.
Changes to the ban, put in place in 1975 in the wake of the Arab oil embargo, have been considered a possibility for the bill, being written by Republican leaders on Energy and Commerce. However, Whitfield, who chairs the subcommittee on Energy and Power, said he didn't think such a measure would be included.
“I would be surprised if it were in there,” Whitfield said in an interview. “We've already laid out the four concepts for the energy bill.”
A policy framework outlining a vision for the bill released by Republican committee leaders Feb. 9 makes reference to a “decision to allow the export of energy commodities,” but it didn't specify the type of energy. Upton, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said the framework would be used to write a comprehensive energy bill to be brought to the floor later this year.
Whitfield told Bloomberg BNA that he has yet to take position on the issue of crude oil exports and would learn more about the issue during a subcommittee hearing on the topic planned for March 3.
“It's our first opportunity to really start exploring the issue,” Whitfield said. “This is our first opportunity to really start asking questions about the pros and cons of crude oil exports.”
The hearing, titled “21st Century Energy Markets: How the Changing Dynamics of World Energy Markets Impact our Economy and Energy Security,” will “examine the impacts of the rapidly changing energy markets on the U.S. economy, jobs and consumers,” according to a committee notice.
Witnesses scheduled to testify include: Adam Sieminski, administrator, U.S. Energy Information Administration; Scott Sheffield, chairman and chief executive officer, Pioneer Natural Resources Co.; Charles Drevna, president, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers; and Graeme Burnett, senior vice president for fuel optimization, Delta Air Lines, according to a list obtained by Bloomberg BNA.
The ban, enacted as part of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, bars crude oil from being exported except in limited cases, such as crude oil that is exported to Canada.
It has been getting a second look as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques have led daily U.S. oil production to soar to more than 9.2 million barrels per day in January, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Upton, in remarks to reporters Feb. 11, said proponents of loosening restrictions on U.S. crude oil exports still “need to build the case for it”.
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