Shale Oil Boom Leads To Oil Exports Not Lower Prices

  • Wednesday, 25 June 2014 00:00

The shale oil boom is now leading to crude oil exports from the US for the first time since the 1970s, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The report said two companies have been given permission to export shale oil, lifting an export ban on crude oil that has been in place since the 70s. 

One of the reasons for the exports, reports Reuters, is that some of the shale oil is ultra-light (also known as condensates) which in turn is difficult to process in refineries in Texas and Louisiana as refineries there have invested in processing heavy crude oil.

So what does this mean? For one, if the shale oil boom continues and leads to more condensates, then there will be a lack of domestic infrastructure to process it into gasoline. In fact, according to the Journal in another report, 96% of growth in domestic production has been light and ultra-light crude oil (as a side note, ultra-light oil is highly combustible in comparison to conventional crude and have resulted in explosions of derailed trains carrying it).

As such, the continuing boom could lead to an oversupply of ultra-light oil which will have to be exported.

Now, most of us think that an oversupply would lead to lower prices but in reality, if the oil can't be processed and exports aren't an option, producers will just drill less to ensure they don't lose out.

As we've noted on several occasions, the shale oil boom is not going to solve our energy issues or lower pump prices. And let's not even talk about the environmental consequences. Only one form of energy is the solution and it's ethanol, which is not only greener but has done far more to reduce our foreign energy dependence and lower pump prices.