WASHINGTON Aug 18 The U.S. Energy Information
Administration plans to release two reports in September
examining some of the issues surrounding a potential end to the
nation's decades-old ban on most crude oil exports, the EIA's
chief said on Monday.
Some lawmakers have pressed the EIA, the statistical arm of
the Department of Energy, to provide analysis on the
implications of relaxing or abolishing the ban, as debate over
the future of the moratorium has intensified.
The EIA's upcoming reports will focus on the impact to U.S.
gasoline prices at the pump from changing domestic and global
oil markets, and on the costs of building different types of
crude oil refining units in the United States.
EIA administrator Adam Sieminski said the report on gasoline
would not specifically weigh in on whether crude oil exports
would raise U.S. gasoline prices, but it would provide an
analysis of whether domestic gasoline prices are determined more
by world or U.S. oil markets.
"The goal would be to try to understand: if Midwest oil
prices go up, is that going to change gasoline prices in the
U.S." as well, Sieminski told reporters at a workshop on EIA
The report on constructing refinery projects will delve into
the costs of building equipment such as stabilizers and
The focus on refining infrastructure has increased after the
Commerce Department clarified that companies can export
ultra-light crude oil that has been run through stabilizers,
which shave off volatile natural gas liquids.
The U.S. crude oil export ban was imposed by Congress in the
1970s after the Arab oil embargo. The U.S. shale oil boom of
recent years is expected to soon make the country the world's
top crude producer, surpassing both Saudi Arabia and Russia.
It has also led to a glut of light oil in Texas and
Louisiana because refiners have invested billions of dollars to
process heavier oils imported from Mexico and Venezuela.
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Ros Krasny and