News Column

EIA plans studies on oil exports

May 5, 2014

WASHINGTON



Responding to requests from several lawmakers to study the pros and cons of relaxing or ending the ban, the EIA, part of the Department of Energy, will take on different aspects of potential crude oil trade and release its findings on a rolling basis, EIA's Adam Sieminski said.



"We are going to do a series of small studies, rather than try to do one big study," Sieminski said at a Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon.



The agency will examine topics such as the amount of light sweet crude oil the United States is likely to produce in the future, refinery capabilities and the impact exporting crude oil might have on domestic gasoline prices, one of the biggest uncertainties around ending the ban.



Sieminski said the report on gasoline price effects would likely be released sometime this summer.



The US shale boom has produced a flood of light sweet crude oil in areas such as North Dakota's Bakken. That type of crude is ill-suited for the US Gulf coast refining hub, leading oil producers to clamor for the ability to export.



If the United States were to lift the ban, Sieminski said, global markets would naturally limit the amount of US exports.



"There is a limited appetite for light sweet crude, so it's not like all our oil would disappear overseas," he said.



Meanwhile, US commercial crude oil and products inventories were forecast to have risen to the highest since records began to be kept more than 30 years ago, an expanded Reuters poll of eight analysts showed.



The survey, taken ahead of weekly inventory reports from the EIA, showed crude stocks rose 2.4 million barrels on average for the week ended April 25. That would take inventories to a record after inventories hit 397.7 million barrels in the previous week, the highest since EIA began collecting data in 1982. The build was largely concentrated in the Gulf Coast region. 



Data from the American Petroleum Institute showed that US oil inventories rose 3 million barrels last week.             


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Source: Oil & Gas News


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