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The United States has become the world's top producer of oil and natural gas over the past five years. And yet, the U.S. has not been able to topple the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as the world's energy powerhouse.

'There are lots of countries that would rather get oil from the United States than Russia and many OPEC countries.'

But U.S. energy advocates said there is a way to lessen the influence of the cartel, which meets Dec. 4 in Vienna: Export crude oil and more natural gas.

That would mean lifting the country's 40-year-old ban on exporting crude oil and easing restrictions on natural gas exports so more shipping terminals can be approved.

Lifting the oil-export ban, which was put in place after the 1970s Arab oil embargo, would weaken OPEC's presence in world markets by increasing U.S. market share, said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who has been pushing for a repeal.

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