Export of Energy Commodities Part of House Energy and Commerce Committee's 'Architecture of Abundance' Framework

On February 9, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce released a framework for a comprehensive energy package to advance its ‘Architecture of Abundance’ agenda this Congress. It focuses on four areas: modernizing infrastructure, a 21st century energy workforce, energy diplomacy, and efficiency and accountability. The planned end-state is a “solutions-focused energy package” for House consideration later this year. The committee also plans to closely coordinate the process with the Senate.

Each of the four sections is geared toward a “21st century energy policy.” The first focus area concerns the modernization of the transmission, reliability, and security of energy distribution. The second aims to build a workforce able to accomplish the agenda to include opportunities for all Americans. The fourth seeks solutions from new technologies and private sector innovation for efficient energy usage.

The third focus area is called “Energy Diplomacy for a Changing World” and advocates for an “integrated North American energy platform” to enhance energy security. Part of this is strengthening partnerships with Canada and Mexico, but also present is an emphasis on energy decisions and their relationship with national security, of “making North America a global energy leader and our allies less dependent on OPEC countries and other unstable regions of the world.” Part of this overall strategy is considering whether or not to allow the export of energy commodities.

The Shale Oil revolution has remade the U.S. oil industry and has sparked industry calls for a lifting of the current restrictions on the export of oil. Currently the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) grants export licenses for crude oil on a case-by-case basis provided that the exports benefit the U.S.’s national interests and are consistent with the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA).

The committee’s ‘Architecture of Abundance’ could be the catalyst to spark a wholesale change in how the U.S. Government handles the export of crude oil.

Crowell & Moring’s energy, public policy and international trade practice groups will closely follow the committee’s actions and alert clients of significant developments.

Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with approximately 550 lawyers representing clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory and policy, and transactional matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity, equity and inclusion. The firm has offices in Brussels, Doha, London, Los Angeles, New York, Orange County, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C.

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