Oil Exports Closing the Gap

Oil Exports Closing the Gap
Oil Exports Closing the Gap

America's oil exports are already rising and have cut the gap to 5.7 million barrels per day. All this has happened BEFORE Congress considers lifting the ban on oil exports. The main driver has been a reduction in consumption, coupled with the boom in production from shale operations. Improving fleet mileage plus the slump from the recession have reduced overall consumption since 2008. Simultaneously, production from Texas shale fields have rocketed back to 1980s levels as a result of fracking technology. The overall result has been a precipitous decline in oil imports, to the point where they now barely surpass domestic production.

But attracting less notice has been the uptick in exports, from a steady 1 million bbd over a long period to 3,5 million bbd. This has been almost entirely in finished petroleum projects - mainly refined products from Texas and Louisiana - which are legal to export. But if Congress approves the export of crude oil, the U.S. may quickly become an oil exporter. Then again, if the Obama Administration approves the Keystone Pipeline, imports will take another jump - even tough much of this oil may be refined in Texas for subsequent export.

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