US Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) speaks to reporters in the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC, December 31, 2012. UPI/Molly Riley. | License Photo
HOUSTON, March 4 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said the country has a "golden opportunity" to capitalize on oil production growth if the government allows for exports.
Legislation enacted in response to the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s limits U.S. options for crude oil exports. Murkowski told an audience at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston she will call on the U.S. Energy Information Administration, part of the Energy Department, to study the economic impacts of lifting the ban.
"The United States cannot squander the golden opportunity that technology, geology and American grit have bestowed upon us," she was quoted by energy news website Rigzone as saying Monday.
Murkowski, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, heard testimony in January about the prospects of exporting more crude oil.
Graeme Burnett, a senior vice president from Delta Air Lines, which owns a refinery in Pennsylvania, said she wasn't convinced there would be benefits from crude oil exports.
"If we allow for the export of U.S. crude, we'll have to import more oil from overseas and subject ourselves, once again, to an increasing degree of price volatility and higher global prices," she said at the January hearing.
Murkowski, however, said at the Houston conference the net benefits are obvious.
"Exports will stimulate production which increases oil supply which decreases prices, which lowers global petroleum product prices," she was quoted as saying.