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White House considering changes to oil export restrictions

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The Obama administration is considering lifting or easing 39 year old restrictions on exporting US crude oil.

Dan Utech, a special assistant to the president for energy and climate, has commented: “We’re seeing huge production increases in crude, and so we’re thinking through the implications of that, in terms of economics, environmental…a whole bunch of dimensions.

“One of the things we’re focusing on is the match between growing crude supplies and our refining capacity. So we’re looking at all that and we’re going to evaluate policy options as needed”.

Utech also indicated that the White House is satisfied with the pace of approvals by the Department of Energy for applications to export LNG. “DOE has a process in place, and they’re moving through it”, he said.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has approved six applications to export LNG to countries without free trade agreements with the US, and 24 others are pending. The department has received some criticism for not acting faster, especially now that the Ukraine crisis is raising new questions about Europe’s reliance on Russia for gas.

Among other issues, Utech said Obama can make a lasting and substantial impact on US energy policy through executive actions, now that political gridlock in Congress has made enactment of major legislation all but impossible. Among those options, are plans by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose rules in June aimed at curbing carbon emission from power plants.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

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