The U.S. oil industry will likely mount a legal and political challenge to current restrictions on crude exports, “possibly by arguing that limits designed to keep petroleum in America may violate international trade rules,” Bloomberg said.

The export restrictions were imposed in the 1970s, during the Middle East oil embargo, and were intended to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

But hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling have dramatically increased U.S. production.

The U.S. imported about 11 million barrels a day of crude oil and refined products in 2012. It exported about 2.6 million barrels of refined petroleum products a day in 2012, more than double exports in 2007.

Industry analysts say unless exports increase, a swelling supply from domestic production could push prices of crude and refined products lower. Whereas more exports will help keep prices stable.

West Texas Intermediate crude hit a low last week of $93.37 a barrel for December delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude closed at $105.33 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Some producers in the Permian Basin in Texas have a break-even  price of $90 per barrel.


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