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Thursday, April 23, 2015
Sen Murkowski: An Effort to Look at Jones Act, Energy Exports
By Michael Hansen @ 3:44 AM :: 6208 Views :: Energy, Jones Act

by Michael Hansen, Hawaii Shippers Council, April 22, 2015

Argus Media reports on the shipment of a Alaska North Slope (ANS) crude petroleum oil cargo from Valdez, Alaska, to South Korea, on a Jones Act qualified crude oil tanker.

Alaska crude oil is exempt from the national ban on the export of crude oil, which is contained in the U.S. export control laws. However, that provision of the export control laws, which allow Alaska crude to be exported, require that the exporting carrier be a Jones Act qualified vessel. That requirement has severely limited the number of ANS crude cargoes exported.

Given U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced intention to introduce legislation lifting the national ban on crude oil exports, there is a question that needs to be asked: If Sen Murkowski is going to lift the crude oil ban nationally, will she leave in place the requirement ANS be exported on Jones Act tankers? That would seem to be unfair to her home state.

"ConocoPhillips Jones Act tanker Polar Endeavour departed yesterday from the Port of Valdez, Alaska, for the 775,000 b/d GS Caltex refinery in Yeosu, South Korea.

The cargo, which is expected to arrive 5 May, will be the second Alaskan North Slope (ANS) shipment exported in the last 10 years. ANS is exempt from the effective US crude export ban.

Two Jones Act vessels also departed this month from Valdez for Hawaii to feed that state's 147,500 b/d of refining capacity. BP Jones Act vessel Alaskan Legend departed 14 April for Honolulu, and is expected to arrive 24 April. BP Jones Act vessel Alaskan Navigator departed 5 April for Honolulu and arrived 14 April.

The discount for ANS crude to calendar month average (CMA) Ice Brent reached $4.50/bl during April trade, the deepest discount since December trade."

  *   *   *   *   *

The energy information service Platts reports on U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski’s announcement regarding her intention to shortly introduce a bill in the U.S. Senate that would lift the 1970’s ban on crude petroleum oil exports and its Jones Act implications. Importantly, Sen Murkowski said that she was open to changes in the Jones Act as part of her current look at energy policy.

"If last year was the year of the report, this should be the year of legislation," Murkowski said Monday at the annual IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston. "So I am announcing today -- right here, right now -- that I plan to introduce a bill that fully repeals our nation's outdated export ban, while still preserving the emergency authority of the president."

Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said it was unclear if the bill would be part of a broader energy policy bill to be introduced later this year or part of a separate bill.

Murkowski indicated that she was open to possible changes to the Jones Act, which requires ships moving cargo between US ports to be US built and owned, among other requirements.

"I don't think we should get all agitated and upset when there's an effort to look at the Jones Act," Murkowski said. "We're looking at a lot of our energy policies right now."

News Release:  Sen. Murkowski Calls for Lifting Prohibition on Crude Oil Exports

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