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Key US senators call for EIA study on crude export policy


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The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairman and ranking member have asked the Energy Information Administration to analyze the impact of lifting restrictions on US crude oil exports.

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"This is a complex puzzle that is best solved with dynamic and ongoing analysis of the full picture, rather than a static study of a snapshot in time," Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat-Louisiana, and Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican-Alaska, wrote to EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski on Friday.

The letter follows a request in February by Senators Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, and Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat, to produce a report on how US gasoline prices would be impacted if restriction on US crude exports were lifted.

Robert Dillon, a Murkowski spokesman, said the request Friday is different since it is not focused on the impact of gasoline prices and comes from the heads of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Landrieu is the committee's chairman while Murkowski is the top Republican.

Murkowski and Landrieu want EIA to analyze current and projected crude oil and condensate production, domestic refining capacity and distribution and the global competitiveness of US refiners. The EIA should also analyze the economic impact on producers, refiners and consumers of keeping the current crude export policy in place and the impact of relaxing or lifting the restrictions.

Last month, Sieminski said EIA plans to release a series of studies examining the impacts of growing US domestic crude oil supply.

"We've looked a little bit at issues in refining and I've got a whole list of things that we want to look at, including how much tight oil is going to be produced, what refining capacity is, how much it's going to cost to change refining capacity, other infrastructure issues like the availability of rail and other modes, pipelines, of getting the oil to refineries on the East and West Coasts," Sieminski told Platts.

The US largely bans exports of crude under restrictions imposed by Congress in the wake of the 1973 Arab oil embargo. The Department of Commerce can issue permits for crude exports under certain prescribed conditions, but has generally only allowed small quantities to Canada.

--Brian Scheid,
--Edited by Katharine Fraser,