Scrapping a decades-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports would spur job creation and boost energy security by encouraging new investment that lifts production, Exxon Mobil Corp’s chief executive said on Thursday. Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson, speaking to a business group, said trade restrictions should also be lifted for exports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, which are subject to lengthy regulatory reviews.
Dozens of companies are lining up to export LNG and a superlight type of crude oil known as condensate as U.S. output of oil and gas has surged to a 25-year high, thanks to advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling of tight oil fields.
“In the current debates about LNG and crude oil exports, economists and leaders from across the political spectrum, from all sides, agree that free trade would lead to increased investment, more jobs and, importantly, increased production,” Tillerson said. “Allowing the marketplace to determine the viability of energy exports or other infrastructure projects, as opposed to making decisions based on political calculus, is the proper course of action,” he added.
“Government is especially well positioned to play a positive role by opening up markets, strengthening international ties and promoting free trade.” In June, Exxon started construction of a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker at its chemical complex in Baytown, Texas. It is part of a wave of new investments companies are making to take advantage of cheap natural gas from the U.S. onshore boom.
Exxon has said the construction project will involve about 10,000 workers, create 4,000 related jobs, and add 350 positions at its Baytown plant.