Study: End crude oil export ban or say goodbye to U.S. shale revolution

The explosive growth in the production of U.S. shale oil in recent years has been credited for giving the economy a much-needed boost.

But a just-released study from Bentek Energy asserts that unless the nation’s crude oil export ban is lifted, the shale energy revolution will come to an abrupt end.

“We have seen so much growth in the economy due to the oil revolution that we’ve had in the U.S. and that growth won’t be able to continue if another demand force isn’t made available,” said Jenna Delaney, analyst for Bentek Energy, an energy marketing and analysis company based in Denver.

That seems like a startling claim, considering that many experts have marveled at the resiliency  of the North American oil and gas industry to keep production rates at record levels despite the recent collapse in global oil prices.

But the Bentek analysts see danger on the horizon.

“At our current production levels, we’re still looking at pretty substantial oversupply,” Delaney told in a telephone interview. “If U.S. production wants to keep growing, we really need to see additional sources of demand.”

Though many Americans are not aware of it, a measure passed by Congress and signed into law by then-President Gerald Ford in December 1975 keeps U.S. oil companies from exporting crude across the world. Crude oil exports to Canada, however, are allowed.

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