The members of the Railroad Commission of Texas in early March provided invited testimony on U.S. trade policy and its impact on the energy industry in Texas and the U.S. during a joint meeting of the Texas House International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs committees.
Their testimony focused on proposed resolutions from the Texas legislature urging the U.S. Congress to end the ban on crude oil exports and to expedite natural gas exports.
During her testimony, Chairman Christi Craddick said that the U.S. crude oil export ban no longer makes sense.
“While trade restrictions put a strain on this important American industry and threaten future oil production, expanding markets for U.S. crude oil will incentivize production and create a more vibrant energy sector,” she said.
Commissioner David Porter in his testimony said limiting U.S. crude oil exports exposes the country to volatile OPEC prices.
“Currently, WTI crude is valued at around $50 a barrel, while Brent prices are roughly $60 – that’s a 20% spread,” he said. “With Texas producing about three million barrels per day, [according to the Energy Information Administration], that’s about a billion dollar difference each month for our economy.”
Commissioner Ryan Sitton applauded the Texas legislature for recognizing the importance of lifting the oil export ban.
“We are in a position to establish a new normal whereby we get beyond discussions of energy independence and focus our efforts on dominating global energy markets,” he said. “To fully realize this opportunity, the United States needs a comprehensive energy plan; that would include repealing the oil export ban, revising or eliminating the Jones Act and getting the Keystone Pipeline built.”