Oil and Gas

Conoco CEO: Lifting U.S. oil export ban 'No. 1 on my wish list'

BOSTON, Oct 22 (Reuters) - The head of U.S. oil company ConocoPhillips on Thursday renewed a call for the Obama administration to lift a ban on crude exports to help revive the struggling domestic energy industry, saying the move was “number one on my wish list.”

The comments come amid intensifying debate in Washington on whether to reverse the 40-year-old ban, imposed after the Arab oil embargo. A Republican-sponsored bill to repeal it passed the House of Representatives last week, but faces an uncertain future after a veto threat by President Barack Obama.

“Allowing exports would ... help save existing jobs and create new jobs,” Conoco’s CEO, Ryan Lance, told an audience at the Boston College Chief Executives Club Luncheon in Boston, adding he believed the move would also help the economy and produce increased tax revenue.

“Now, if we could only get the administration to act. That’s number one on my wish list,” he said.

Texas-based ConocoPhillips bills itself as the world’s biggest independent exploration and production company, with daily output of about 1.5 million barrels per day from its worldwide operations.

U.S. oil producers eager to ship oil to markets in Asia and Europe argue the ban has led to a glut of U.S. sweet crude that is choking domestic drilling. Democrats have been cool to the idea, citing concerns that exports would raise prices.

The rise of fracking technology, which involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into a well to extract oil or gas, has helped lift U.S. production of oil by 45 percent since 2010. That helped touch off the historic slide in oil prices that has forced energy companies like ConocoPhillips to slash capital budgets and cut thousands of jobs. (Editing by Matthew Lewis)