WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- U.S. refining company Valero said keeping crude oil produced in the United States in the domestic market shields the economy from overseas shocks.
"The more oil you have at home, there's less [price] volatility when Iran rattles its saber or that kind of thing," Valero spokesman Bill Day said in an interview published Tuesday by The Wall Street Journal. "It makes more sense to keep the raw materials here, use American processes and labor to make a higher value product and use that for the export market instead of sending it abroad and importing it back at a higher price."
The increase in U.S. oil production has generated calls for a reversal of legislation enacted in the wake of the 1970s Arab oil embargo that restricts U.S. crude oil exports. Higher levels of oil production, coupled with export restrictions, means companies like Valero can refine domestic oil cheaply.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, challenged the sentiments from the refining sector during a speech Tuesday at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.
Murkowski said she was challenging opponents of crude oil exports who said it would lead to higher energy prices for U.S. consumers.
"This claim is wrong, but it must be dealt with immediately and it must be dealt with head on," she said.