Energy Security:

Impacts of Lifting Alaskan North Slope Oil Exports Ban

RCED-91-21: Published: Nov 8, 1990. Publicly Released: Nov 28, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO assessed the impact of removing export restrictions on Alaskan North Slope (ANS) crude oil, focusing on likely changes in the Alaskan oil trade between now and 1995, both with and without the ban, and how those changes could affect the nation's economy and energy security.

GAO found that: (1) ANS crude oil distribution to eastern ports could cease in the near future due to lower ANS production and higher West Coast consumption; and (2) the Energy Information Administration's computer model estimated that ANS crude exports and related price increases would be considerably smaller in 1995 than in 1988 due to decreased production. GAO also found that lifting the ANS oil export ban could: (1) divert all the oil shipped to eastern U.S. ports and some of the oil shipped to the West Coast to Pacific Rim countries; (2) lead to potential economic efficiencies due to significantly lower transportation costs to U.S. eastern ports and improvements in refinery efficiency; (3) benefit some oil producers while hurting independent California refiners and the U.S. maritime industry; and (4) increase gross U.S. imports but possibly decrease net U.S imports and improve worldwide oil market efficiency.

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