Lifting the ban on U.S. crude oil exports would lead to an average 8-cents-per-gallon drop in domestic gasoline prices through a surge in crude output, according to an IHS study. The study reaffirms that concern about a potential price hike at the pump as an effect of crude exports "is unfounded," said Kurt Barrow, vice president of oil markets and downstream for IHS.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday passed legislation that would repeal the ban on crude oil exports, expand offshore drilling, expedite review of liquefied natural gas exports and create offshore revenue sharing for states. "Free trade in energy will allow America to harness the full economic opportunities created by our energy revolution," said Louis Finkel, executive vice president for government affairs at the American Petroleum Institute. Both chambers of Congress should also "quickly send this important legislation to the president's desk," Finkel said.
Phillips 66, Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners have formed a joint venture to construct the Bayou Bridge crude oil pipeline linking terminals in Nederland, Texas, to markets in Lake Charles, La. Phillips 66 and Energy Transfer Partners hold interests of 40% and 30% in the venture, respectively. Meanwhile, Sunoco, which owns a 30% stake, is expected to operate the pipeline.
The 1,698-mile Rockies Express Pipeline is expected to begin full-scale operations on Saturday, transporting 1.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from Ohio to Illinois. The pipeline will serve as a new way of shipping Marcellus and Utica gas and help improve gas prices for drillers in Ohio, said Shawn Bennett, executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. The pipeline is operated by a Tallgrass Energy Partners joint venture.
The Bureau of Land Management has issued a draft environmental review for a Noble Energy oil project in Colorado's Denver-Julesburg Basin that seeks to develop up to 89 wells in 7,986 acres of private and federal lands. The agency will accept comments on the assessment until Aug. 28.
A bipartisan energy package on Thursday cleared the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 18-4. The bill covers energy efficiency, infrastructure and liquefied natural gas export projects, among other components. Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said she hopes to encourage lawmakers to maintain moderation in the legislation.
Removing outdated policies and expanding access to global markets will help the U.S. strengthen its energy abundance for geopolitical leadership, said Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Mark Warner, D-Va., co-chairs of the Atlantic Council's Task Force on the U.S. Energy Boom and National Security. The task force released a report offering a number of suggestions, including relaxation of restrictions on crude oil and natural gas exports, to meet the goal. "We need to make sure we use [hydraulic fracturing] safely. We also need to make sure policies keep pace not only with economic demands, but also with national security components," Warner said.
U.S. refiners, seeking to boost profits amid a surge of light crude from shale, are turning again to gasoline production after years of focusing on diesel. Gasoline has ranked first in performance among members of the Bloomberg Commodity Index this year. Refiners have also seen the highest demand for the product since 2007 as drivers set a record pace from January to May.
Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday began digging a mud-line cellar at its Burger prospect in the Chukchi Sea as part of its top-hole drilling for two wells in the region. The company expects to finish the excavation within about nine days. It is also looking to apply with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement for permits to drill deeper into the region after repairs of its damaged icebreaker are completed.
The momentum for repealing the ban on crude oil exports is increasing in a bipartisan way, as more lawmakers become aware of the economic and energy advantages of such a policy change, American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard said Wednesday. Allowing exports is needed "to level the playing field and allow the U.S. to flourish as a global energy superpower," Gerard said. He also urged congressional leaders to immediately schedule floor votes on pertinent bills.