Railroad Commissioners Testify Before Joint Meeting of House Energy and International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs Committees-Commissioners Discuss U.S Trade Policy Impacting Oil Exports

03/09/2015

All three Railroad Commissioners today provided invited testimony at a joint meeting of the House Energy and International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs committees on U.S. trade policy and its impact on the energy industry in Texas and the United States.

Chairman Christi Craddick said, “The U.S. crude oil export ban that was put into place decades ago no longer makes sense in current times. While trade restrictions put a strain on this important American industry and threaten future oil production, expanding markets for U.S. crude oil will incentivize production and create a more vibrant energy sector.”

Commissioner David Porter said, “Not being able to export into the international oil market with every other country in the world makes us subject to volatile OPEC prices. Currently, WTI crude is valued at around $50 a barrel, while Brent prices are roughly $60. That’s a 20 percent spread. With Texas producing about three million barrels per day (Source: EIA), that’s about a billion dollar difference each month for our economy.”

Commissioner Ryan Sitton said, “I applaud the Texas Legislature for recognizing the importance of lifting the oil export ban.  The growth in production in Texas and the United States over the last six years has dwarfed production in other countries.  We are in a position to establish a new normal whereby we get beyond discussions of energy independence and focus our efforts on dominating global energy markets.  To fully realize this opportunity, the United States needs a comprehensive energy plan; something we haven’t really ever had.  That would include repealing the oil export ban, revising or eliminating the Jones Act and getting the Keystone Pipeline built.  I fully support our state’s strong stance to make these energy policy changes a reality and allowing Texans to compete in a market free of government manipulation.”

While the Railroad Commission does not regulate or collect data related to federal oil and gas export policy, testimony during the hearing specifically focused on HCR 57 urging the U.S. Congress to end the ban on crude oil exports and HCR 63 urging the U.S. Congress to expedite natural gas exports.

About the Railroad Commission

 Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including almost 100 years regulating the oil and gas industry. The Commission also has jurisdiction over alternative fuels safety, natural gas utilities, surface mining and intrastate pipelines. Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. To learn more, please visit http://www.rrc.texas.gov.