Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Oil & Gas Exports Event: Video and Materials (and Two Important Updates)

If you weren't lucky enough to hear me, Mark Perry and Jim Bacchus opine on the "shale revolution" and the myriad problems with current US policy on oil and gas exports, you're in luck: Cato just posted the video, which is also imbedded below.

If you'd like a closer look at Mark's or my presentation, you can download them here and here, respectively.  They remain up to date, except for two big developments that warrant mention:
  • First, a few minutes after the Cato event ended, Senator Ted Cruz announced a comprehensive energy plan, one of the core planks of which is the liberalzation of both crude oil and natural gas exports.  (Boy, we were effective!)  Cruz also will be sponsoring formal legislation to implement the plan in the coming days.  Shortly thereafter, Senator Rand Paul stated his opposition to the current export restrictions.  Thus, there now is a more robust reform proposal on the table in Congress and, soon, legislation along those lines.  This is a far more ambitious approach than any before it, including that hinted by Senator Murkowski last month. Thus, it seems like Congress may be catching up to the rest of the policy and business world far more quickly than we imagined just a few short weeks ago.  Giddyup.

  • Second, the non-partisan outfit Resources for the Future published an extensive new study which, echoing previous studies, finds that eliminating the current restrictions on US crude oil exports would lower - yes lower - domestic gasoline prices.  Here's the money line: "Given our projections for the change in crude oil prices and increased efficiency in refinery operations [caused by lifting the crude oil restrictions], we estimate US gasoline prices would be reduced by 2.8 to 6.9 cents per gallon."  This, of course, makes perfect sense if you understand domestic and global oil markets, current US policy (which permits unlimited exports of refined petroleum products), and, well, basic economics. (See my Cato presentation for more.)
More to come, I'm sure.

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