Oil lobby CEO: Price tumble makes it perfect time to lift crude oil ban

Falling oil prices are giving fuel to advocates who want the U.S. to lift a decades-old ban on crude oil exports.

Jack Gerard, CEO of the top oil lobby American Petroleum Institute, said on Friday that tumbling oil prices have opened up an avenue for more debate surrounding the crude oil ban.

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“Now is the time for the U.S. to look for additional markets for our product,” Gerard said on a call with reporters on Friday, referring to the crude oil export ban.

Gerard added that now is the time for Congress and the administration “to work together in a bipartisan way” to utilize the nation’s “huge resources.”

“Ultimately that market will balance out and find some equilibrium,” Gerard said.

Sen. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenMcConnell ups pressure on White House to get a budget deal Senators introduce bill to prevent border agency from selling personal data Overnight Energy: Bipartisan Senate group seeks more funding for carbon capture technology | Dems want documents on Interior pick's lobbying work | Officials push to produce more electric vehicle batteries in US MORE (R-N.D.) made similar comments in a brief interview with The Hill this week.

Hoeven said while the drop in prices “will slow [production] down in some areas,” the main, larger projects “should be fine.”

He added that the pressure on oil prices makes “it even more important that we pass the kind of legislation that helps our energy industry compete in the global economy.”

Asked if the price tumble helps strengthen arguments in favor of lifting the crude oil export ban, Hoeven said “it does.”

“So yes, I think it does help make that case because of this imbalance between light and heavy [crude] and it is about making our domestic industry more competitive,” Hoeven said.

He noted that the key to getting legislation through, and the administration on board, is “showing the public that they will benefit at the pump” by lifting the ban, which is why he said studies from the Energy Department’s stat shop are important.

Opponents of lifting the ban argue it would hurt consumers at the pump, and threaten U.S. domestic production by shipping supplies overseas.

A number of refiners also oppose repealing the ban because they say it could threaten their operations and jobs.