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Baker Institute: Lifting Crude Oil Export Ban Would Help US Energy Security

The study assessed the effects of crude oil prices across a far wider range than previous research on the subject.


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Kenneth Medlock sitting at a desk
Kenneth Medlock is an energy market economist at Rice University’s Baker Institute. Photo taken by Dave Fehling

Rice University’s Baker Institute has released new research, supporting the argument in favor of lifting the nation’s 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports. The study makes the case that exporting U.S produced crude oil would help stabilize the world supply of oil, buffering it from regional shocks in places like the Middle East. That, in turn, would stabilize prices.

“Consumers, you and I, we don’t buy crude oil. We buy petroleum products,” says Kenneth Medlock, the report’s lead author, who unveiled the study at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “And the prices on petroleum product markets are still going to be set globally, not domestically. So this is a really important takeaway when we want to start thinking about what can the U.S. do to contribute to a more stable market, which will definitely convey energy security benefits back at home.”

The report assessed a wide range of crude oil prices, from as low as $30 per barrel to as high as $150 per barrel. Previous studies of the subject have focused on a narrow range of high prices.