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NERA: U.S. still importing oil if ban lifted

Exports would be in the form of oil without a U.S. market.

By Daniel J. Graeber

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- If the United States lifts a ban on crude oil exports it can realize economic benefits, though it will still be a net importer, a report prepared by NERA Economic Consulting finds.

NERA prepared a 120-page report for The Brookings Institution that says lifting the ban on crude oil exports doesn't eliminate foreign dependency.

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Legislation enacted in response to the oil embargo from Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries limits crude oil exports from the United States.

"Even with the lifting of the crude oil export ban, the U.S. will remain a net importer of crude oil," the report, published Wednesday, finds.

Supporters of lifting the ban say it will increase U.S. leverage overseas and push the price of petroleum products like gasoline lower. Opponents question those claims and argue more exports would come with environmental consequences.

NERA finds more U.S. oil on the global market translates to lower crude oil prices across the board.

"The principal effect of lifting the ban is to allow the export of light tight crude oil and condensate produced in the U.S. that does not have an economic market in the United States," the reports said.

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The report's authors state lifting the ban not only generates "paramount foreign policy benefits" but also increases the general economic welfare of the United States.

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