Oklahoma could gain nearly 4,500 jobs in 2020 if the U.S. reverses its ban on oil exports, according to a study released Thursday. Exports also would inject more than $500 million into the state’s economy.
The study by ICF International and EnSys Energy indicates additional exports could help increase energy supplies, put downward pressure on gasoline prices at the pump and bring more jobs to the United States.
It was commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute, which favors crude oil exports.
“The U.S. is poised to become the world’s largest oil producer, and the study shows that access to foreign customers will create economic opportunities across the country,” said Kyle Isakower, the institute’s vice president for regulatory and economic policy. “When it comes to crude oil, the rewards of free trade are not limited to energy-producing states.”
The study found that oil exports could bring 300,000 jobs to the U.S. economy in 2020, when new drilling is expected to plateau, while saving consumers nearly $6 billion a year on average between 2015 and 2035.
Eighteen states would gain more than 5,000 new jobs, according to the study, with Oklahoma falling just short of that threshold.
“Across the nation, we see that lifting crude export restrictions would yield overwhelmingly positive results,” Isakower said. “There is a growing realization that this is a new era for American energy.
“Scarcity is giving way to abundance, and restrictions on exports only limit our potential as a global energy superpower.”
Lower gas prices
A new IHS study predicts U.S. crude oil exports would result in lower gasoline prices and nearly 1 million new jobs within a few years.
“There are different types of oil, and they require different kinds of refining processes and facilities,” said IHS director James Fallon, the study’s co-author. “And as a result of the boom in tight oil production, the U.S. is exceeding its capacity to process that type of crude. Current export restrictions mean that light crude has to be sold at a sharp discount to compensate for the extra cost of refining it in facilities that were not designed for it.
“That gridlock is preventing additional investment and production — and the additional economic benefits — that could otherwise take place.”
The Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association’s crude oil committee recently released a position paper calling for an end to the ’70s-era ban, although some industry officials and consumer advocates believe it should remain.