• 3 minutes Nucelar Deal Is Dead? Iran Distances Itself Further From ND, Alarming Russia And France
  • 5 minutes Don Jr. Tweets name Ukraine Whistleblower, Eric Ciaramella. Worked for CIA during Obama Administration, Hold over to Trump National Security Counsel under Gen McCallister, more . . . .
  • 9 minutes Shale pioneer Chesepeak will file bankruptcy soon. FINALLY ! The consolidation begins
  • 12 minutes China's Blueprint For Global Power
  • 3 hours Pioneer's Sheffield in Doghouse. Oil upset his bragging about Shale hurt prices. Now on campaign to lower expectations, prop up price.
  • 2 hours Tesla Launches Faster Third Generation Supercharger
  • 37 mins EU has already lost the Trump vs. EU Trade War
  • 2 hours Passerby doused with flammable liquid and set on fire by peaceful protesters
  • 2 hours Who writes this stuff? "Crude Prices Swing Between Gains, Losses"
  • 2 hours ''Err ... but Trump ...?'' #yawn
  • 1 hour China's Renewables Boom Hits the Wall
  • 22 hours Climate Change Consensus Shifts in Wind, But Gas Is Still the Right Move
  • 1 day Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, Ukraine Oil & Gas exploration company Burisma, and 2020 U.S. election shenanigans
  • 3 hours Crazy Stories From Round The World
  • 1 day Atty General Barr likely subpeona so called whistleblower and "leaker" Eric Ciaramella
  • 2 hours Haaretz article series _ Saudi Arabia: A Kingdom in Turmoil | Part 1 - Oil Empire
Alt Text

Icahn: Occidental Won't Hit Target Without Asset Sale

Activist investor Carl Icahn has…

Alt Text

The Uncertain Fate Of U.S. Shale In 2020

The fate of U.S. shale…

Alt Text

Iran Admits: Tanking Oil Revenue Cripples Country

Iran's President, Hassan Rouhani, has…

Alexis Arthur

Alexis Arthur

Alexis Arthur is energy policy associate at the Institute of the Americas, a think tank on Western Hemisphere Affairs based in La Jolla, Calif. She…

More Info

Premium Content

This Deal Could Completely Change North American Energy Dynamics

The United States is edging towards an historic agreement to swap crude oil with Mexico. The deal is important as it brings some relief to US producers struggling with a light oil glut at home and for Mexican national oil company, Pemex, which is hoping to mix the lighter crude coming out of US shale fields with its heavier blend.

However, the arrangement is not just about the relationship between the US and Mexico. It’s also about broader North American energy integration. And critically, many experts see the deal as another crack in the US crude oil export ban.

The swap between the US and Mexico – if approved – will allow the US to export 100,000 barrels of oil per day to Mexico. It will not affect US imports of Mexican crude. In February this year, the United States imported 784,000 barrels of crude and petroleum products per day from Mexico. Related: Key Signals That Oil Prices Are On The Up

Twenty-one US senators, led by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota, wrote a letter to the Commerce Department recommending the ruling go beyond swaps to allow for exports under the same conditions as Canada. The proposal, they stated, would “harmonize North America’s energy trade”. This is a goal that the current administration appears to agree with.

The deal is historic for several reasons, not least of which the fact that so few exceptions have been made since the crude oil export ban went into place in the 1970s. According to the Department of Commerce’s Export Administration Regulations (Part 754.2(b)(1)) exceptions include exports from Alaska’s Cook Inlet and exports to Canada “for consumption or use therein”. Canada has benefited greatly from the swaps. Alaska exported its first crude in a decade last September, to South Korea. Related: How Shale Is Becoming The .COM Bubble Of The 21st Century

The oil swap with Mexico not only makes economic sense but also political sense as the North American region becomes increasingly integrated. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) celebrated its 20th anniversary last year with some fanfare but there is still more to be done to bring the US, Canada, and Mexico closer together. The Whitehouse’s Quadrennial Energy Review, released on April 21, recommends greater integration of North American energy markets. The free trade in crude oil between the three nations would be a positive step.

Finally, the swap represents a small step towards loosening the crude export ban. The ban, implemented in response to the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s, is widely considered an anachronism by energy experts. Lifting it would likely bring economic benefits to the US. shale producers dealing with a glut of light shale oil that can’t be easily refined on the Gulf Coast but could be sold abroad.

A report by IHS Cera estimated that lifting the ban could generate from 400,000 to over 800,000 jobs. Another report, by NERA Consulting for the Brookings Institution, projected that along with rising employment, free trade in oil would also lead to wage increases and lower prices of gasoline for American consumers. All of which are good for US economic recovery and growth. Related: Low Oil Prices Could Destabilize Financial System

In addition to the oil swaps with Mexico, another interesting loophole emerged late last year. In November 2014, BHP Billiton became the first company to ship lightly processed condensates without express permission from the Commerce Department. At the time, it looked like real progress towards lifting the restrictions.

Lobbying and politicking has continued apace since then but progress has been slow. US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz’ support for a review of the ban has kept advocates’ hopes alive.

As for the US crude heading south of the border, the Mexican government is hopeful that the request will soon be approved. It represents a positive but small advance towards the goal of greater energy integration in North America. Whether it will later be seen as a factor in lifting the US crude oil export ban remains to be seen. In the meantime, the immediate benefits for the US and the region should be recognized.

By Alexis Arthur of Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage



Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play