HOUSTON, March 5 (Xinhua) -- The oil industry has not made a convincing case for the lifting of the federal government's 39-year-old ban on exporting American crude oil, United States Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Wednesday.
Moniz made the comment when addressing an audience of industry executives at the IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston, one of the country's top annual gatherings of energy industry leaders.
"The industry could do a lot better job talking about the drivers for and what the implications would be for a country that still imports five million barrels of oil a day," Moniz said. "To be honest I do not think the industry has done a very good job of clearly and concisely stating their case."
Moniz said the matter will ultimately lie with the U.S. Department of Commerce, but indicated that the oil industry's lobbying arms have a long way to go in order to achieve a lifting of the ban.
Moniz's remarks came amid a louder call from inside the industry and Washington for the country to ease the ban so as to increase the industry's competitiveness and use the strategic asset as political and diplomatic leverage.
Lisa Murkowski, a ranking member of the U.S. Senate Energy Committee, on Monday called on the Obama administration to partly lift the ban. Murkowski argued that the fact that energy, while long considered a strategic liability, is now among the nation's strategic assets -- assets which could be used as political and diplomatic weapons, helping to protect allies and "deal with bad actors from a position of strength."
On an aggregate supply-demand basis, the United States is rapidly approaching a self-sufficiency rate of 90 percent in energy, Murkowski added.