* 2018 seen as peak year for new jobs
* Ukraine crisis lifting US political support to reverse ban
* Environmental wild card not considered by report
By Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON, May 29 If U.S. lawmakers reverse a
40-year ban on oil exports it would add more than $1 trillion to
government revenues through 2030, trim fuel prices, and add an
average of more than 300,000 jobs a year, according to a report
by an energy research group.
In one of the most optimistic assessments about unlocking
U.S. crude exports, the IHS report said gasoline prices would
fall some 8 cents a gallon because overturning the ban would
pour crude onto oil markets and lower global fuel prices.
Government revenues from energy-related taxes and royalties
would increase $1.3 trillion from 2016 to 2030. Jobs during that
period, in both crude production and at oil field service
companies, would rise an average of 340,000 a year and peak at
an additional 964,000 in 2018, IHS said.
"This would be a significant economic stimulus that would be
paid for by the private sector, not by the government - in fact
the government would make a lot of money," Daniel Yergin, an
energy historian and IHS vice chairman, said in an interview.
Only Congress can fully reverse the restraint on exporting
crude. Congress put the ban in place after price shocks from the
1973 Arab oil embargo led to the notion that the United States
was running out of oil.
But supply worries have evaporated in recent years as
directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have
sparked an oil boom that promises to make the United States the
world's biggest crude producer, ahead of both Saudi Arabia and
Some energy policy analysts say environmentalists, who have
been galvanized by the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline project,
could be a wild card in the move to free up U.S. crude exports,
which would bring higher domestic oil output.
Yergin said opening up U.S. exports would not hurt the
global environment because it would not add to the amount of oil
produced around the world. It would simply shut in exports from
countries in the Middle East and other regions, he said.
This year no major legislation has surfaced to overturn the
ban and few expect lawmakers to introduce any measures before
the Nov. 4 midterm elections. Backers of any reversal would have
to placate lawmakers from Northeastern states, where refineries
are profiting by processing new bounties of crude from North
Dakota's Bakken region.
But Russia's annexation of Crimea, as well as the potential
economic benefits to federal and state governments, have begun
to grab the attention of U.S. lawmakers, Yergin said.
"The crisis in Ukraine has tilted the politics in a way that
has caused a pivot," Yergin said. "It's realized now that the
ability to export oil is an additional dimension to America's
role in the world. It enhances our position and influence."
In the midst of Russia's confrontation with Ukraine - and
the potential it has for cutting supplies of natural gas and
crude to Europe - many U.S. lawmakers have been calling for
quick approvals of more U.S. energy exports.
The report, paid for by energy companies including
ExxonMobil Corp, Chevron and ConocoPhillips
, can be seen here: www.ihs.com/crudeoilexport
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Tom Hogue)