| WASHINGTON, April 10
WASHINGTON, April 10 The United States could
give Europe and Ukraine relief from energy dependence on Russia
within months if it overturned the 40-year ban on most U.S.
crude oil exports, the head of energy company Hess Corp.
said on Thursday.
"There's something we can do today to help our allies now,
and that's give the green light to crude exports," Chief
Executive Officer John Hess said at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.
He estimated that Europe and Ukraine could get relief from
volatile oil prices in 90 days if the ban was overturned.
Concern about Europe's dependence on Russian energy has
risen after President Vladimir Putin's government annexed the
Europe gets 30 percent of its crude oil supply from Russia,
and has been hesitant to impose sanctions on Moscow for the
invasion of Ukraine. In addition, Russia has hiked prices for
natural gas it sells to Ukraine.
U.S. exports of natural gas could also help diversify energy
supplies in Europe, but not substantially for about four years
as billions of dollars worth of infrastructure needs to be built
before shipments can start.
As one of the largest drillers in North Dakota's Bakken
region, Hess could benefit from a lifting of the ban on crude
exports, which the federal government implemented after the Arab
oil embargo in the early 1970s. Hess is spending about half of
its $5.8 billion energy exploration and production budget this
year on drilling shale resources, mostly in the Bakken.
Pressure is growing on the Obama administration to overturn
the ban, but analysts say there is little chance he will do so
in a midterm election year. There is no major legislation to
reverse the ban, as lawmakers are hesitant to support a measure
that could later be blamed for raising motor fuel prices.
Hess played down the notion that reversing the ban could
raise gasoline prices, saying that prices are set on global
futures markets and that the United States already exports
millions of barrels per day of oil products.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to
former President Jimmy Carter, said sending U.S. crude to Europe
could be a "good and practical" idea to diversify its energy
supply from Russia.
But he cautioned against the idea, popular among many U.S.
politicians, that surplus oil and gas from the U.S. energy boom
could be used as tool to address wide geopolitical issues.
"I'm not sure how transformative it's going to be, I think
there's enormous potential, but ... there are still considerable
areas of uncertainty," Brzezinski said.
Strife in the Middle East and rapid developments in cyber
warfare are two issues that could overshadow the U.S. energy
revolution, he said.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Ros Krasny and