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Joe B.
Republican TX 6

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  • Lifting the Crude Oil Export Ban

    by Representative Joe Barton

    Posted on 2015-12-16

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    BARTON. Mr. Speaker, the first thing that I want to do is commend the gentleman from North Dakota for his hard work on this. He is an original cosponsor of H.R. 702. He is a valued member of the ad hoc whip team that we put together.

    He and I have worked the floor. We have had dinners with undecided Members. We have helped coordinate action efforts with some of the outside groups that are supportive.

    You have been unflagging in his help on this. I could say similar things about the Speaker in the chair. The gentleman from Arkansas has also been a valued member of our team.

    [[Page H9371]] What I want to focus on is to explain to the Members what this means strategically to the United States of America. The world produces and consumes about 95 million barrels of oil per day right now; 95 million. Three countries, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Russia, combined produce about 30 percent of that, a little over 30 million barrels a day between those three countries. Right now, Saudi Arabia would be number one, Russia would be number two, and the United States would be number three at about 9 million barrels a day production here in the United States.

    Until this bill becomes law, which we hope will pass the House and the Senate and the President will sign it this weekend, if you want to change the world oil markets, it takes five or six phone calls. The chairman of OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, who have their headquarters in Vienna, would make four or five phone calls to the various oil ministers of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya, Nigeria.

    If they all agree on a price and a production quota, they have a meeting, they get all the member states to ratify it, and they set the price. A handful of people set the world price. That is the way it has been done since the mid-1970s during the Arab oil embargo.

    If we repeal the ban on U.S. crude oil exports, which I think we are going to do, and the President signs the bill next week, we have about 500 million barrels of oil in storage in Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas, up in the Midwest where the gentleman is from. Believe it or not, there is some in California and some even up on the East Coast. There is privately owned oil that is just sitting there.

    The chairman of OPEC calls those same five oil ministers and says, Boys, we need to raise the price. We are going to cut production. Each of you guys, your nation, we agree to cut production to half a million barrels a day. We are going to tighten up the market, and we are going to raise the price. And they all agree to do it.

    Well, that word is going to get out. Somebody in Houston is going to say, Well, I have got 10 million barrels right here. Somebody in Corpus Christi, somebody in New Orleans, somebody in Mobile, Alabama, somebody in New York City or Long Beach, California, there will be oil on the market to replace the production cutbacks of OPEC, if not in minutes, in hours.

    What we are doing is taking the keys from OPEC and giving the keys to the American people, the free market. Who has the biggest oil reserves in the world, if you include our alternative shale reserves? The United States of America. Who has the best technology in the world? United States of America. Who has the best people, the best seismic engineers, the best production engineers, the best oil field workers, the best truck drivers, the best pipeliners? The United States of America.

    So, by golly, within a week, we are going to unleash the free market competitive enterprise of the American people on the world oil market. These other countries--Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, and Libya--they can increase production a little bit, but there is only one country in the world that could literally double production within 4 or 5 years. Guess who that is? The United States of America So what we are doing this week in the omnibus--there are lots of reasons to be for it. If you want to take control of energy policy away from a handful of oil ministers who are primarily in the Middle East, vote for this bill and put control in the market. Let the Americans compete with the Mexicans and the Canadians and the Saudis and the Iraqis and the Russians and anybody else who wants to sell oil.

    We don't realize what we are about to do, but it has tremendous economic and strategic implications for freedom everywhere in the world. You, sir, from North Dakota have helped make that possible. The gentleman in the chair from Arkansas has helped make that possible. The 262 Members of this House, Republicans and Democrats--Henry Cuellar of Laredo, Texas--has helped make that possible.

    Next week is going to be a great week, it is going to be a milestone week, and we are going to look back, this is when we took back control from OPEC and gave it to the free market and to the American entrepreneurial spirit.

    I thank Congressman Cramer for his hard work. I am proud to have him as one of the leaders in this effort.

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