Is It Time to Update Our Energy Policies?

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Is It Time to Update Our Energy Policies? | Conversations with T. Boone Pickens


Brian Bradshaw: 

Hi. I'm Brian Bradshaw. I'm here with Boone Pickens, part of an ongoing series talking about current energy policy issues in the country. Boone, thank you for being with us.

Why It’s Illegal to Export Oil

Today, something that we're reading more and more about, that's becoming a front page news issue is this idea of oil export out of this country. I think a lot of people don't understand the fact that it's actually illegal to export oil from this country. Is that correct?

T. Boone Pickens:           

Against the law, yes. That was a law that was developed after the Arab embargo in '73, and should be looked at. There are other laws that were developed at that time, because it panicked all of us here at the United States. The gasoline prices went up, long lines at the filling stations, you know, one thing right after another. So my gosh, we gotta do something about this. We don't ever export any oil. We didn't believe then that we would ever have oil like we do today.

Demand for a North American Alliance

Brian Bradshaw: 

For the last 30 years even though this thing might not really made sense, it did matter. We were importing so much oil, our production base wasn't really growing.

T. Boone Pickens:           

Look at what you have today. We're using about 18 million barrels of oil a day in the United States and we're producing between eight and nine million barrels. We still import a lot of oil. We import eight or nine million barrels a day.

Some of that oil comes from friendly countries. About half of the nine million barrels we import comes from Canada and Mexico. The other four or four and a half million comes really from OPEC, not friendly.

So here we are starting to have options develop for this country. My advice is to produce more oil in the United States and Canada and Mexico, combined. I would like to see a North American energy alliance developed which would bring those three countries together.

It would have great opportunities for all three countries in the alliance.

Brian Bradshaw: 

So 40 years ago we passed all these laws, like you mentioned: the SPR, price controls, rationing, the oil export ban and the windfall profits tax.  Over time, each one of these things has either fallen off or been repealed with the SPR still in place of course. But this oil export ban still remains. No one has really gone back and looked at it until now, until it's become relevant again.