Oil

Debate over Ending US Ban on Oil Exports

Country set to become top producer

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Almost four decades after the Arab oil embargo, political leaders are beginning to contemplate what was once unthinkable: lifting restrictions on the export of U.S. crude oil.

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the top Republican on the Senate's energy committee, and the American Petroleum Institute held events yesterday to push for an end to the export ban. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has said it's time to revisit the policy amid forecasts the U.S. will surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's largest oil producer by next year.

"This may well be the biggest energy issue of 2014," Daniel Yergin, author of "The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World," said in a phone interview. "Our logistics, our laws and our thinking are all having to play catch up with the dramatic change in the U.S. energy position" in recent years, he said.