Bush’s Plan to End Petroleum Ban Could be Boost the Industry Needs

Whether it’s a blatant attempt to gain traction in the polls or just the right time to get the conversation going, Jeb Bush announced on Tuesday (9/29) his plans to get rid of the ban on U.S. oil exports and ease current restrictions on natural gas exports, according to the business news site economictimes.com. He believes doing so could have an immediate impact on those in the industry and would lead to adding more jobs to the already 9.8 million the oil and gas industry provides in the United States.

“More domestic energy leads to more jobs, higher wages, lower gas prices, and smaller electricity bills,” Bush wrote for a piece published on Medium.com. “In short, it means more money in people’s pockets, allowing them more freedom to make more choices for themselves and their children.”

The ban on U.S. oil exports has been in place since the energy crisis of the 1970s. In theory, it was enacted to protect American consumers by keeping our own oil production at home as opposed to the world’s highest bidder. The oil embargo by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) had caused prices to skyrocket.

Today, that is no longer the case. In fact, a decrease in demand for crude oil and an increase in alternative energy sources has led to a decline in the industry and excess reserves. Over the last decade alone, global proved oil reserves have increased by 27% (350 billion barrels), and from 2011-12 there was a 15.4% increase in barrels of crude oil and lease condensate proved reserves. Bush and proponents of the idea, experts in the field and economists, see it as the perfect opportunity to boost the American economy still struggling from the lingering effects of the Great Recession.

“Lifting the ban on crude oil exports and liberalizing natural gas exports would create hundreds of thousands of additional jobs and significantly lower net energy costs,” Bush wrote.

Opponents of lifting the ban claim it would be a huge boost to big petroleum business, but consumers would see little effects at the end product.

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