Oil lobby chief: '20 or 30' ways to lift export ban

Oil lobby chief: '20 or 30' ways to lift export ban
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The head of the top oil and gas lobby group said Wednesday there are “20 or 30 different paths” to lifting the ban on crude oil exports, but he wouldn’t take a position on one of the highest-profile possible compromises. 

“I think there’s a variety of options out there — we could probably go through a long list, we could probably identify 20 or 30 paths to success here,” American Petroleum Institute (API) President and CEO Jack Gerard told reporters Wednesday.

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“I do think it is significant that you’re hearing more and more saying, 'I think we could work something out here.'”

Gerard, however, demurred when asked about tying oil exports to an expansion of green energy tax credits, a proposal offered up last month by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), the Democrat leading the push on exports in the Senate. 

“The oil and natural gas industry has really left it to the Congress to decide how they develop the energy policies, who they give tax credits to, who they subsidize, who they don’t,” he said. “Our view is pretty narrow and focused, because we believe it sells itself.”

The House approved a bill last week lifting the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports, but its prospects in the Senate are held up by a potential Democratic filibuster. 

Heitkamp said last week that there aren’t Democrats committed to supporting the bill right now to get it to 60 votes. But many have opened the door to some type of compromise on the issue, she added. 

Gerard said Wednesday, though, that his group isn’t pushing publicly for one deal or another, preferring to leave that work to lawmakers — for now.

“If leadership decides, as part of their leading the Congress and the Senate and the House of the United States, that something like that comes together, we’ll be quick to share our views on it,” he said.