Removing U.S. oil ban would create jobs beyond drilling: report

By Reuters

Mar 17, 2015 01:34 AM EDT

Lifting a 40-year-old U.S. ban on crude exports would create a wide range of jobs in the oil drilling supply chain and broader economy even in states that produce little or no oil, according to a report released on Tuesday.

Some 394,000 to 859,000 U.S. jobs could be created annually from 2016 to 2030 by lifting the ban, according to the IHS report, titled: "Unleashing the Supply Chain: Assessing the Economic Impact of a U.S. crude oil free trade policy."

Only 10 percent of the jobs would be created in actual oil production, while 30 percent would come from the supply chain, and 60 percent would come from the broader economy, the report said. The supply chain jobs would be created in industries that support drilling, such as oil field trucks, construction, information technology and rail.

Many of the jobs would be created in Florida, Washington, New York, Massachusetts, and other states that are not known as oil producers.

"The jobs story extends across the supply chain, right across the United States," said Daniel Yergin, a vice chairman at IHS and an oil historian. "It's not just an oil patch story, it's a U.S. story."

Record spare U.S. crude oil supplies caused by the drilling boom of the last five years have put pressure on the Obama administration and Congress to lift the country's ban on oil exports. Congress put the ban in place after the 1970s Arab oil embargo led to fears of energy shortages, and only a few lawmakers including Republicans Senator Lisa Murkowski and U.S. Representative Joe Barton support lifting the restriction.

Many other lawmakers have been hesitant to support relaxing the ban, fearing they could be blamed for any unrelated rise in gas prices.

In New York, a state that maintains a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas, jobs for the drilling business have been created in big data analytics and database management. The number of those jobs would rise if the ban was lifted, said the report. In Illinois, jobs would be created in durable manufacturing of engines and machine tools and mining for fracking sand.

The report, sponsored by energy companies including ConocoPhillips (COP.N), Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) and Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD.N), assumed there would be no slowdown in drilling due to campaigns by environmental or other groups.

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