Energy secretary: US considering crude oil exports

The U.S. is weighing whether lifting a decades-old ban on crude oil exports is viable in the current domestic production landscape, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Tuesday.

Moniz has hinted at studying crude oil exports before, but Tuesday's comments were the strongest yet by the Obama administration.

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The Energy Department's stat shop has said it plans to study the impacts of crude exports, which has become a hotter topic on Capitol Hill in the past year.

"The issue of crude oil exports is under consideration…A driver for this consideration is that the nature of the oil we're producing may not be well matched to our current refinery capacity," Moniz said Tuesday at a presser after a two-day energy conference in Seoul, according to the Wall Street Journal

Moniz added that multiple agencies are involved in studying the option of crude oil exports.

Moniz's comments echoed that of White House adviser John Podesta's last week.

Podesta said officials are "taking an active look" at the oil production boom to decide whether there is potential to effectively and economically utilize the resource.

Crude oil production in the U.S. reached a milestone last year, hitting record levels.

For the first time in nearly 20 years crude oil production in the U.S. surpassed foreign imports, leading  a number of lawmakers on both sides rallying behind the idea of lifting the ban.

The Senate held its first hearing on crude oil exports for the first time in nearly 25 years earlier this year, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has made the issue a central point of discussion in the past few months.

Murkowski hopes President Obama will use his executive authority to lift the ban rather than having to push legislation through the Senate.