A bill to remove crude export restrictions in the US has been passed by the US House of Representatives with a vote of 261 to 159.
The bill, which representative a key legislative priority for the oil industry, clashes with the White House’s stance over energy as it has threatened to veto any measure that ends the crude export ban.
Current regulations allow for unlimited exports of petroleum products but require licensing of crude oil exports. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which underpins the export restriction, was signed into law in 1975 by President Gerald Ford.
It was brought about to stifle the impact of future oil embargos by foreign oil producing countries following the 1973 Arab oil embargo, which inflated world oil prices.
The bill now moves to the Senate.
The Congress said in a statement: ‘The US has enjoyed a renaissance in energy production, establishing the US as the world’s leading oil producer.
‘By authorising crude oil exports, the Congress can spur domestic energy production, create and preserve jobs, help maintain and strengthen our independents shipping fleet that is essential to national defence, and generate state and federal revenues.
‘An energy-secure US that is a net exporter of energy has the potential to transform the security environment around the world, notably in Europe and the Middle East.
‘The presence of more US oil in the market will offer more secure supply options, which will strengthen US strategic alliances and help curtail the use of energy as a political weapon.’
API president and CEO Jack Gerard says: ‘Today’s vote starts us down the path to a new era of energy security.
‘American producers would be able to compete on a level playing field with countries like Iran and Russia, providing security to our allies and accelerating the energy revolution that has revitalised our economy.
‘Lifting the ban could increase the value of US crude and incentivise domestic production, which puts downward pressure on global oil prices and the prices that consumers pay for fuel.’