Granholm Tells Oil Executives Crude Export Ban Is Off the Table

Granholm Tells Oil Executives Crude Export Ban Is Off the Table

President Joe Biden’s energy chief extended an olive branch to the oil industry Tuesday, telling executives a crude export ban is not under consideration, while assuring them that the administration was “not a bogeyman.”

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm made the virtual remarks Tuesday to an outside advisory group with members including executives from such companies as Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc. Her conciliatory tone comes as the administration’s policies on energy production, which included a temporary halt to oil leasing on federal lands and the termination of a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, have drawn the ire of industry. 

“I do not want to fight with any of you,” Granholm told the National Petroleum Council. “I do think it’s much more productive to work together on future facing solutions.” 

The administration, Granholm said, is not considering reinstating a ban on the export of crude oil — a tool the Biden White House had previously been considering as it sought ways to address gasoline prices that hovered around a seven-year high, setting off political alarm bells.

Granholm’s comments represent the administration’s most definitive statement regarding the export ban, which had the potential to upend oil markets while discouraging domestic oil production.

“I heard you loud and clear and so has the White House,” Granholm said in her remarks. “We wanted to put that rumor to rest.” 

Granholm’s address to the council follows finger pointing over the issue of high gasoline and oil prices. The industry was also angry with the administration’s decision to dramatically reduce access to oil and gas development, followed by complaints domestic producers weren’t ramping up production amid increasing energy demand as the worst of the pandemic ended. 

The Biden administration has since sold oil and gas drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico after a federal district judge in June ruled against the moratorium. 

Granholm, in her comments, asked the industry to ramp up oil and gas production, while repeating previous complaints about unused permits and leases. 

“While I understand you may disagree with some of our policies, it doesn’t mean the Biden administration is standing in the way of your efforts to help meet current demand,” Granholm said, while asking the industry to help partner in the administration’s battle against climate change. “I firmly believe those that embrace the change rather than fighting it will be rewarded on the other side.”

Bloomberg by Ari Natter, December 21, 2021