Issue Brief: Crude Oil Exports

Issue Brief: Crude Oil Exports

As domestic oil production continues to rise, questions are being raised about whether or not the United States should change the long-standing crude oil export ban that was enacted in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act in 1975.

This SAFE Issue Brief provides historical context on the ban, as well as the latest trends in the global oil market that are contributing to the growing debate.

Areas explored in this Issue Brief on the topic of crude oil exports include:

History:  The crude oil export ban was implemented in the aftermath of the devastating oil price spike that followed the 1973-74 OPEC oil embargo.

Rising Domestic Oil Production:  Domestic light, tight oil (LTO) production has surged since 2007, and petroleum product exports have increased to their highest levels ever.

Transportation and Refining Capacity:  Pipeline capacity and the use of rail shipments is increasing to transport this crude, and operational adjustments and new investments are being made by refiners to process it.

U.S. and Global Oil Market Context:  Surging production has nevertheless created a crude oil glut and significant price variance between different crude varieties.

Debate:  The need for the ban is being revisited given the current market context.