The United States should lift its nearly four-decade ban on crude oil exports to help encourage domestic production, the Washington Post said in an editorial on Thursday.
Booming shale oil production has led to an intense debate over the moratorium, which was imposed by Congress in 1975 in the wake of the Arab oil embargo.
Allowing crude oil exports would help address a mismatch between rising light crude output from U.S. shale formations and Gulf Coast refineries better suited to handle heavy crude, the Post argued in an editorial.
"The export ban was a desperate ploy in the 1970s to control commodities markets amid spikes in oil prices induced by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries," the newspaper said. "Keeping it in place now is an economically incoherent policy."
Earlier this summer, the U.S. Commerce Department ruled that energy companies could export ultra-light crude, known as condensate, if it has been minimally processed.
The Post said the Commerce Department should continue to allow as many crude oil exports as legally possible until Congress acts to remove the ban.
The editorial can be read here: http://wapo.st/X3gBWR
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Paul Simao)