Lifting the United States’ ban on exporting crude oil might only give limited help to Eastern European countries tired of relying on Russia for energy, according to a congressional report.
The report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), obtained by Reuters, calls into question one of the top arguments that supporters of oil exports have made, Reuters said.
Republicans, oil producers and others have argued that putting U.S. oil out on the world market would add to stability for U.S. allies in Europe and Asia by giving them another option for oil apart from countries like Russia and Iran. Some GOP presidential candidates have made similar points.
But Eastern European oil refineries, in countries like Poland and Hungary, are designed to use the medium sour crude Russia produces, not the light sweet crude that the United States mainly produces.
That could make it expensive to adapt to U.S. oil, the CRS found.
“This in turn may result in reducing the attractiveness to U.S. producers to export crude oil to the region,” it said, according to Reuters. CRS reports are not typically made public, unless a member of Congress decides to publish them.
If the United States were to export other types of crude oil, it could push out Russian competition among the countries that depend on that oil.
But Eastern European allies would still have to build infrastructure from ports, and Russia could reduce its prices to better compete with the U.S., Reuters said, citing the report.
“The financial justification for delivering U.S. crude oil to Eastern Europe may or may not exist over time,” the CRS wrote.