* More questions need to be answered about oil exports
* Moniz recently suggested export policy should be revisited
* Ukraine crisis may require rethink of gas export process
(Adds Moniz comments on potential new review of LNG exports)
By Ayesha Rascoe
HOUSTON, March 5 The U.S. oil industry needs to
make a better case for lifting the decades-old ban on crude
exports, especially as the country still relies on millions of
barrels of foreign oil, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said
Oil producers have begun ramping up efforts to overturn
rules restricting the sale of U.S. crude oil overseas in most
cases, with the nation awash in light sweet crude that is not a
good match for the Gulf coast refining hub.
But Moniz, who caused a stir late last year when he
suggested that the ban should be revisited, said many questions
remain unanswered about the potential impacts of crude exports.
"The industry could do a lot better job talking about the
drivers for, and what the implications would be, of exports,"
Moniz said at the IHS CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, a
high-profile event that draws oil and gas industry elites.
More analysis is needed of infrastructure issues and the
possibility of expanding or modifying U.S. refineries, Moniz
He also argued in favor of a comparison of the impacts of
the crude exports versus refined products exports, which are
"The industry could do a lot more to put that whole case
together for a public discussion," Moniz said.
SHALE GAS AND UKRAINE
The shale revolution has also opened the door to U.S.
exports of liquefied natural gas.
Some lawmakers have called for the Obama administration to
use the nation's natural gas bounty as leverage as it negotiates
with Russia over the unrest in Ukraine.
While the Energy Department considers geopolitical
ramifications in its review of LNG export applications, Moniz
said the department does not have the authority to determine the
destination of gas shipments.
"I think we have to think through, perhaps with the
Congress, how we want to address that set of issues," Moniz
The crisis in Ukraine may warrant a discussion about whether
that situation should lead to any changes in the gas export
review process, he added.
Shipments of gas to countries without free trade agreements
with the United States require approval by the department.
With only one U.S. gas export terminal fully permitted,
substantial U.S. gas exports remain years away.
The department has issued five additional conditional
approvals for exports, with two dozen other applications
With licensed export volumes nearing the threshold of 12
billion cubic feet a day considered by the DOE-commissioned
study that evaluated the impact of gas exports, some analysts
have warned the administration may pause its review process to
do another assessment.
Moniz said circumstances may arise that would require more
study, but he would not specify whether he thought there would
"As we go forward, we are continuously evaluating and if we
have to update, we will," Moniz said.
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Ken