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Sen. Murkowski Highlights EIA Crude Oil Study

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today welcomed the publication of the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) forecast of U.S. oil production quality. The release of the EIA report follows Murkowski’s April letter to the independent agency, co-signed by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), requesting  “dynamic and ongoing analysis” of issues associated with lifting the 1975 law that bans the free trade of most domestic oil production.

“This in-depth and rigorous analysis is exactly what I had in mind when I asked the EIA to examine the rapidly changing picture of U.S. oil production,” Murkowski said. “The growing mismatch between the type of oil that is increasingly being produced in the middle of the country and our ability to refine it is causing distortions in the market. Lifting the export ban will spur domestic production and inject much-needed investment in the U.S. economy.”

The EIA assessment, U.S. Crude Oil Production Forecast – Analysis of Crude Types, looks at the different qualities of oil being produced around the nation. Among its findings:

“Recent U.S. crude oil production growth has consisted primarily of lighter, sweet crude (a description of crude quality, as measured by API gravity and sulfur content) from tight resource formations. Roughly 96% of the 1.8 million bbl/d growth in production between 2011 and 2013 consisted of sweet grades with API gravity of 40 or above….

“More than 60% of EIA’s forecast of production growth for 2014 and 2015 consists of sweet grades with API gravity of 40 or above.” (p. 2)

Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has been the leading advocate in Congress for lifting the federal prohibition on crude oil exports. In a white paper released in January, Murkowski warned of a growing mismatch between the boom in the production of light, sweet crude and the nation’s existing refining fleet, which is primarily setup to handle heavier grades of crude oil.

A report published Wednesday by IHS echoed this warning, and estimated that lifting the ban on exports could create hundreds of thousands of job, boost oil production by more than 2 million barrels per day, lower gasoline prices, and enhance the U.S. economy for years to come.

Murkowski has published a series of reports prepared by her staff that outlines a potential roadmap for executive action to liberalize trade restrictions on U.S. oil production. The reports can be found on the energy committee’s website

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