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There's been a lot of talk lately about the crude oil export ban -- a regulation on exports of crude (as opposed to refined) oil that the oil industry hates. They've recently started a campaign, it seems, to pressure their friends in Congress to relax this regulation. Of course, their only motivation is increased profits...climate be damned.

Unfortunately, relaxing the crude oil export ban would be a disaster for our climate, resulting increased oil production that would amount to emissions equivalent of 42 coal plants.

Oil Change International released new analysis today that shows that relaxing the crude oil export regulations would incentivize billions of barrels of production of oil in the United States, resulting in 9.9 billion barrels of new oil that would equal 4.4 billion metric tons of CO2equivalent emissions. That's massive, equal to building 42 coal plants!

The report has already been covered by Reuters and The National Journal.

Here's OCI's press release on the report:

3 MARCH 2014

David Turnbull, david [at] priceofoil [dot] org

New Report Outlines Climate Costs of Relaxing Crude Oil Export Regulations
Allowing crude oil exports could add emissions equivalent of 42 coal plants

A new analysis published today by Oil Change International – Lifting the Ban, Cooking the Climate - shows that eliminating existing regulations on crude oil exports could result in additional greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 42 coal fired power plants.

The analysis shows that allowing crude oil exports would eliminate a current price gap between the U.S. oil price benchmark and the global average. This increased price for U.S. crude oil on the global market would incentivize increased U.S. oil production on the order of 9.9 billion barrels between 2015 and 2050, adding more than 4.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere.

“Removing the crude export ban would be a disaster for the climate. President Obama and the U.S. Congress need to stand up to Big Oil and defend the current regulations if he is actually serious about addressing our climate crisis,” said Stephen Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International.

Big Oil’s leading lobbyists from ExxonMobil and the American Petroleum Institute have led the charge to relax the ban, and they have spending big in Washington to push their agenda. The leading proponent of relaxing the oil export regulations, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, has received over three-quarters of a million dollars from the oil industry in recent years.

“Big Oil’s push for deregulation is all about profits and nothing more, no matter the consequences for our climate and communities. To push for more oil drilling at a time when our communities are facing climate chaos everyday is to deny the reality of climate change,” Kretzmann said.

The analysis released today can be found here:

Previous Oil Change International analysis of the crude oil export ban can be found here:


Oil Change International is calling on the President to defend the existing crude oil export ban. You can add your voice, by taking action here.

Originally posted to dturnbull on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 12:43 PM PST.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots, Climate Change SOS, and Climate Hawks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  There is no "ban" on U.S. crude oil exports (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MGross, wader

    There is an crude oil export license requirement, not a ban, that the oil industry is trying to remove.  

    •  Ban with exceptions (0+ / 0-)

      I think the point remain the same either way, but the regulation is nearly universally considered (and called) a "ban". Exports without a license are banned, indeed.

      But either way, lifting the regulation, whether you call it a ban or a license requirement, would be be hugely problematic for our climate and communities.

      •  Present United States crude exports hardly reflect (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        a ban on such crude exports.....which are at over 1 billion barrels per year for 2012.

        As a result, any determination of the net emission increase in greenhouse gas emissions associated with terminating the present export license requirement would have to address the difference between projected total exports after removal of the export ban minus the present level of exports of crude from the United States.   OCI has clearly not properly determined the net greenhouse gas emission increase consequence of getting rid of export licenses since your report does not address baseline emissions from present crude exports under the present policy.

  •  Oil Change International never seems to publish (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy

    either the basis or the calculation of greenhouse gas emission claims, liquid hydrocarbon production figures cited or its economic calculations.

    As such, neither OCI nor OCI workproduct is transparent in its claims and there isn't any reason why the public should accept OCI's claims absent such documentation and written defense of its claims.

    •  Read the analysis (0+ / 0-)

      All of the calculations are laid out in the analysis. I'm not sure why you're suggesting otherwise.

      •  There are no emission calculations at (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy

        all in your analysis and it is impossible to determine from your published work the numerical basis for your claims.

        There is no way to check OCI's work for accuracy in carrying out its determination by reviewing both your calculations and your analytical determination.   Nothing at all in your published material from your news release and related report shows, demonstrates or explains your claims, assumptions and projections, which have to be taken on faith from your workproduct.

        For example, there is no economic calculation  and methodology shown for making your 9.9 billion barrel prediction.   There is no information on your carbon content assumptions for crude, and no information quantifying all of your claims and comparisons to coal fired power plants.

        •  More.. (0+ / 0-)

          The methodology for the 9.9 billion barrel prediction is basically the bulk of the paper (pages 3-4 in particular)...we look at crude prices, projections from Rystad, etc. as described in detail and through the graphs (figure 2 in particular is helpful here).

          Carbon per barrel of crude oil is based on IPCC, IEA, MIT and other analysis regarding carbon impact per GJ and average GJ per barrel of oil (6.1 GJ per barrel).

          The coal plant equivalent is from EPA with an assumed 30-year lifetime for a coal plant.

          •  There are no calculations shown in your paper. (0+ / 0-)

            There is nothing in your paper that is sufficient, standing along, that allows the reader the ability to replicate mathematical calculations to get the results shown.

            All emission and economic calculations feature equations, and your paper paper does not show any calculations...none.

            Reviewing your paper alone does not provide all necessary assumptions about how your claims and statements are made, including such things as what you're using for an average coal plant or lifetime coal plant emission numbers.

            Your OCI paper does not meet any fundamental standards of scientific quality assurance if the reader cannot numerically replicate your results from your methodology, which is impossible because you don't shown your calculations and assumptions necessary to justify the claims being made or the replication of your methologies against your calculations.

        •  Another nuance is that the pdf that is linked to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          projects up to ~39 billion barrels of domestic production when current reserves are 26.5 billion barrels.

          To bump the recoverable reserves up by 50% would require a fairly robust increase in the cost of a barrel of crude, which makes the quibbling about the price differential between WTI and Brent prices seem a tad over-done.

          Plus, with increasing rail capacity, the price differential is unlikely to persist for long.

          What is needed is a robust carbon tax to quickly (e.g., within a few years) dampen demand; everything else is diversionary fluff really.

    •  Yes, it is all very puzzling (0+ / 0-)

      presumably dumping all that extra crude on the global markets would depress "global" prices thus de-incentivizing the increased domestic production.  The report seems to have forgotten to address that.

      But taking that into account, it would all even out in the end and all that really matters is demand - i.e., if there is demand for the product, it will be produced regardless of the price/cost.

      Another way to look at this is "who is currently benefiting from the depressed price of the stranded crude"?   That's another big missing aspect of this analysis.

  •  Facilitating fossil fuel production.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...yields more fossil fuels, which when burnt, yield more CO2.

    This should come as surprise to no one.

    Still, kind of amusing to them objecting to a policy that would increase the price of oil.  Unless they feel that a ton of CO2 now is more important than a ton of CO2 later, it hardly seems like there's a point.

  •  Signed and tweeted. eom (0+ / 0-)

    If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

    by John Crapper on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 01:50:16 PM PST

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