WASHINGTON, May 2 (UPI) -- There are a series of refinery issues in the United States that should be considered if crude oil exports are to expand, the U.S. Energy Department said.
The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said it expects domestic oil production to increase from 6.5 million barrels per day last year to 8.2 million bpd by the end of 2014.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies this week he welcomed U.S. oil gains made in recent years. Instead of touting gains in energy independence, he said U.S. policymakers should consider "to what degree it will, in the future, be prepared to export its oil and gas supplies."
The EIA stated that predictions the U.S. oil boom would slow unless export policies were amended ignored some production factors.
"This is likely an overstatement of the actual situation because there are several other midstream and downstream adjustments that could help to accommodate changing production patterns," it said.
U.S. policies enacted in response to the Arab oil embargo in 1973 restrict export options. In February, the EIA stated that Canada was the only country that received U.S. crude oil, in line with policies from the 1980s.
The EIA said there were a series of complex market and refinery issues to consider before any serious discussion on exports can take place.
"As television announcers used to say, 'Stay tuned,'" it said.