"There's something we can do today to help our allies now, and
that's give the green light to crude exports," Chief Executive
Officer John Hess said at the Center for Strategic and International
Studies, a Washington-based think tank.
He estimated that Europe and Ukraine could get relief from volatile
oil prices in 90 days if the ban was overturned.
Concern about Europe's dependence on Russian energy has risen after
President Vladimir Putin's government annexed the Crimean peninsula.
Europe gets 30 percent of its crude oil supply from Russia, and has
been hesitant to impose sanctions on Moscow for the invasion of
Ukraine. In addition, Russia has hiked prices for natural gas it
sells to Ukraine.
U.S. exports of natural gas could also help diversify energy
supplies in Europe, but not substantially for about four years as
billions of dollars worth of infrastructure needs to be built before
shipments can start.
As one of the largest drillers in North Dakota's Bakken region, Hess
could benefit from a lifting of the ban on crude exports, which the
federal government implemented after the Arab oil embargo in the
early 1970s. Hess is spending about half of its $5.8 billion energy
exploration and production budget this year on drilling shale
resources, mostly in the Bakken.
Pressure is growing on the Obama administration to overturn the ban,
but analysts say there is little chance he will do so in a midterm
election year. There is no major legislation to reverse the ban, as
lawmakers are hesitant to support a measure that could later be
blamed for raising motor fuel prices.
Hess played down the notion that reversing the ban could raise
gasoline prices, saying that prices are set on global futures
markets and that the United States already exports millions of
barrels per day of oil products.
[to top of second column]
Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to former
President Jimmy Carter, said sending U.S. crude to Europe could be a
"good and practical" idea to diversify its energy supply from
But he cautioned against the idea, popular among many U.S.
politicians, that surplus oil and gas from the U.S. energy boom
could be used as tool to address wide geopolitical issues.
"I'm not sure how transformative it's going to be, I think there's
enormous potential, but ... there are still considerable areas of
uncertainty," Brzezinski said.
Strife in the Middle East and rapid developments in cyber warfare
are two issues that could overshadow the U.S. energy revolution, he
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; rdditing by Ros Krasny and Jonathan
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