The US Senate Energy Committee on Thursday voted to pass a bill that would lift a 40-year rule limiting exports of crude oil.
By a 12-10 margin, the committee sent the bill onward to the Senate floor for a wider debate later this year. The bill was put forward by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski who also chairs the committee. Every Democrat on the committee voted against the bill.
As reported in previous stories on Splash this energy bill contains many elements of interest to the shipping world including: easier processing of LNG exports; a potential 10-year extension of Arctic oil drilling permits; and an expansion of US offshore drilling in general. But the major change it would bring is the lifting of the oil export restrictions.
Supporters of the legislation say the longstanding restrictions have become outdated due to the rise of the US as an energy power.
The bill still has a long way to go before becoming law, needing approval of the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as the signature of President Barack Obama.
Getting Congress’ approval is more likely than it would have been before November last year since both houses now have Republican majorities.