So much oil is being drawn out of the Eagle Ford Shale in south Texas that more and more officials are calling for the repeal of 1970s era laws blocking crude oil exports so the U.S. can become an exporter of oil for the first time in decades, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter told an Eagle Ford conference underway at the Convention Center that the biggest concern is that more oil is being produced than can be refined, given the fact that U.S. refineries are now working at full production.
"That's one of the reasons why a number of people in the industry and I have called on the federal government to reconsider limitations on exports of American oil," Porter told 1200 WOAI's Michael Board.
The Eagle Ford plus the booming Cline Shale in west Texas are in a position to make Texas, not the United States, but just the state of Texas, the second largest oil producer in the world by the end of this year, surpassing all but Saudi Arabia in production of crude oil.
Porter says exports would help the country's balance of payments, and could be used to mitigate the actions of bad actors like Russia and Iran, which use the threat of reductions in energy supplies to intimidate other countries.
"At some point in time we are going to exceed our production capacity, especially of sweet crude oil in the U.S, which is what Eagle Ford oil is,"Porter said.
He says refineries cannot be expanded fast enough to handle all of the production from the booming shale fields and construction of new refineries is not likely.
The call for adjustments to restrictions on the export of U.S. crude oil, which were approved during the 'Arab oil embargo' days of the 1970s, starkly demonstrate how much the U.S. energy outlook has changed just in the past several years, thanks to fracking and other developments in drilling technology.