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Shell CEO says U.S. should export oil to stabilize markets

3/09/2014 by


U.S. policymakers should gradually lift the country's decades-old ban on crude oil exports because allowing the shipments would make the global energy system and fuel prices more stable, the head of Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) said on Tuesday.

"Policymakers here in the United States should embrace a truly liberalized, diverse and global energy market," Shell Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden told an energy conference at Columbia University in New York.

U.S. oil and natural gas exports "would reinforce the long-term future of North American energy production," significantly improve the U.S. balance of trade, and "help to make the global energy system much more stable," he said.

The United States has banned most crude exports since the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s. But pressure on the Obama administration and on Congress to overturn the restriction has risen amid the domestic shale energy boom of the last several years. The United States is soon expected surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's top oil producer.

The Commerce Department in March allowed two companies, Enterprise Product Partners (EPD.N) and Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD.N), to export an ultra light form of oil called condensate. The ruling became public in June.

But since then at least three applications for more condensate exports have been put on hold.

Meanwhile, Washington has approved several applications to export natural gas, with the first shipments expected next year.

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