Yesterday the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held the first hearing in 25 years to “explore opportunities and challenges associated with lifting the ban on U.S. crude oil exports.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) reiterated her call for President Obama to end the prohibition against exporting crude oil produced in the United States. “The prohibition on crude oil and condensate exports threatens record-breaking U.S. oil production and American jobs by creating inefficiencies, gluts, and other dislocations,” Murkowski said in her opening statement.
Lifting the ban would “send a powerful signal to the world that the United States is ready to reassert its role as a leader on energy,” Murkowski stated. In addition, she argued, opening up global markets to U.S. producers would spur production, contributing to an overall expansion in global petroleum supply, which in turn would lower the price of petroleum products.
All things equal, the American consumer will benefit from this interaction, as will those Americans employed directly and indirectly as a result.
Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), who once opposed U.S. exports of petroleum products made from imported Canadian crude oil, took no position for or against lifting the crude oil export ban, stating he wanted to hear the arguments pro and con and would “not be making any judgments today.”
Sen. Murkowski agreed that no decisions would be reached in the Senate or the administration in the next few weeks. But, noting that congressional debate on the ban would have been unthinkable only two years ago, she said the hearing should advance the conversation on how to renovate America’s “antiquated energy trade architecture.”
In a comedic moment indicating just how far the conversation has come, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) made a plea to Sen. John Hoeven, Republican of North Dakota, home of the Bakken shale boom, to “please discover some oil in Minnesota.”
As discussed previously, Sen. Murkowski recently released a white paper, A Signal to the World: Renovating the Architecture of U.S. Energy Exports. On visiting her Committee Web page today, I found that she has commissioned 11 studies from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) on various energy export issues. In short, she is providing intellectual leadership and serious legislative deliberation on these important issues. Brava!
I may review other testimonies in a later post. Here I’ll provide highlights from the testimony of Harold Hamm, Chairman and CEO of Continental Resources, Inc., “the company that co-developed the first field ever drilled exclusively with horizontal drilling and the company that is the largest leaseholder and most active driller in the Bakken Play.” [click to continue…]