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Washington: An energy-dominant U.S. is free from external shocks

Republican lawmakers under the previous administration helped end a 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Washington: An energy-dominant U.S. is free from external shocks
U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry says an energy dominant United States is one that's largely self-reliant. Total U.S. crude oil imports are down by about 2 percent from last year. Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI | License Photo

June 28 (UPI) -- An energy-dominant United States means the country is self-reliant and isolated from countries that aim to use energy as a weapon, the energy secretary said.

U.S. President Donald Trump is highlighting his energy strategy this week as the Energy Department's independent Energy Information Administration holds its annual conference in the nation's capital.

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Earlier this week, White House spokesman Sean Spicer touted exports of liquefied natural gas as part of the Trump agenda for energy dominance. Speaking alongside deputy spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said energy dominance means independence.

"An energy-dominant America means self-reliant, it means a secure nation, free from the geopolitical turmoil of other nations who seek to use energy as an economic weapon," he said. "An energy-dominant America will export to markets around the world, increasing our global leadership and our influence."

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The Commerce Department had allowed some exports of domestically-sourced condensate, an ultra-light form of crude oil found in many U.S. shale basins. If processed in a certain way, condensate does not meet the federal classification of crude oil.

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Under former President Barack Obama, Republican lawmakers helped broker an end to a ban on U.S. crude oil exports that was enacted in the 1970s in response to an oil embargo embraced by some members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Two years ago, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said ending the ban would bolster the security for European allies fretting over supplies from Middle East producers. Regional disputes between Qatar and Persian Gulf allies in June have highlighted that risk.

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Spicer this week made no mention of crude oil exports.

The four-week moving average for net U.S. crude oil exports for the week ending June 16 was 775,000 barrels per day, up 58.4 percent from the previous year. Net imports for crude oil last week were 7.4 million barrels per day, up slightly from the previous week. Year-over-year imports based on a four-week moving average are lower by 1.8 percent.

West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, is trading at a discount relative to Dubai, a Middle East benchmark, which means U.S. oil is competitive in mostly Asian markets.

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