Only a few years ago, the U.S. was running short of natural gas and plans were made to spend billions of dollars to import the product. With the advent of the shale revolution, importing facilities are being converted to export facilities. Producers and land owners think that is a great idea. What Europeans pay for natural gas is far more than what we pay in this country. But manufacturers, and anyone who heats with natural gas, would rather see the gas stay here and for prices to remain low. This is a debate that will continue for some time. How much do we export and how much do we retain?
With the rapid increase in U.S. oil production we may soon have that same debate with oil. What? The U.S. exporting oil? Unlike the price of natural gas, which is determined to a large degree by local production (meaning anywhere a pipeline can carry it) the price of oil is determined on an international basis, since it can be transported overseas more easily. While U.S. natural gas prices remain very low, U.S. produced oil benefits from a high price on the international market. So why not export it? Well, there are rules (and laws) against that sort of thing. But might that be changing? Attached here is a well written article from Reuters that raises many interesting questions about policy and economics.