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Economists Call for Lifting Ban on U.S. Oil Exports

Economists Call for Lifting Ban on U.S. Oil Exports

Washington, D.C. – Two economists are calling on the Obama Administration and lawmakers to lift the current ban on the exportation of U.S.-produced crude oil.

Removing the sanction would boost U.S. trade and economic competitiveness and highlight the need for U.S. trade policy “to reflect the reality of America’s abundant resources,” say economists Dr. Margo Thorning and Dr. William Shughart.

Thorning and Shugart are, respectively, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at the Logan, Utah-based American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF), and Professor of Economics at Utah State University’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business and former Federal Trade Commission economist.

“This is an issue whose time has come,” said Thorning. “The momentum for lifting the ban on crude oil exports continues to grow and now is the time for the U.S. to capitalize on its energy advantages. This new project will be a resource for the public and policymakers to get the facts on a critical issue that affects everyone.”

Added Shughart, “Not only will lifting the ban bring substantial economic benefits to the country, but doing so will also advance U.S. and global energy security. The times – and the world – have changed in the decades since the ban was put into place and our energy policies need to catch up.”

Since the export ban was enacted in 1975, the U.S., they said, “has transitioned into a world leader in energy production. The nation’s refined oil – mainly gasoline and diesel – is exported without restriction, yet due to the crude export ban, the country is restricted from exporting its abundant supplies of crude oil.”

Such a restriction, they say, “holds America back from significant economic, geopolitical and price-related benefits.”


Bayer CropScience Opens New US Research Center

West Sacramento, CA – Bayer CropScience has opened a new research and development facility in West Sacramento, California to support the company’s work in developing improved seeds and crop protection products.

According to the Germany-based company, the new $80 million facility, which will serve as the global headquarters of Bayer CropScience’s Biologics Business, is situated on 10 acres of land and features a 100,000-square-foot building and a 35,000-square-foot pilot plant to support research and development of biological crop protection products.

In addition, a 30,000-square-foot vegetable seeds research building and a 2,000-square-foot greenhouse will be on-site with five acres of nearby land for future greenhouse space.

“We are investing heavily in R&D infrastructure such as laboratories, greenhouses and breeding stations as well as new production capacities and seed processing facilities,” said Bayer CropScience CEO Liam Condon, adding that the company aims to grow faster than the US market.

Bayer CropScience plans to invest close to $1 billion in capital expenditures (CAPEX) in the US States over the next several years, mainly to ramp up research and development and to expand a world-class product supply of its top crop protection brands.

In addition to building its R&D network in the US, the company is also investing significantly in the production capacities of the facilities manufacturing its crop protection products.

The company has expanded the capacity of its facilities in Muskegon, Michigan and Kansas City, Missouri, and recently completed the construction of a new plant in Mobile, Alabama to produce its agricultural-grade ‘Liberty’ weed killer.

Bayer CropScience also invested $17 million in the expansion of its Memphis Research and Development site, bringing total greenhouse capacity at the facility to 76,000 square feet.

Located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, the Memphis facility works on developing high quality cotton and soybean varieties, as well as trait innovations.

In June 2014, the company announced plans to expand its North American and global seeds headquarters in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina.

The RTP site has experienced significant operational growth in recent years, and approximately $200 million will be invested through 2016.

The company also plans to invest approximately $90 million in its Cotton Research and Development Laboratory in Lubbock, Texas.

Founded in 1998, the company’s global cotton headquarters is focused on providing cotton growers with the products and solutions they need to meet the world’s growing demand for fiber.

According to a statement from Bayer CropScience, its overall RTP investment program in the US includes several additional projects – the construction of the Development North America facility dedicated to crop protection and environmental science research; renovations to its North American headquarters; construction of a 6,000 square-foot North American Bee Care Center; and the purchase of 70 acres of land to accommodate a new 29,500 square-foot greenhouse.


TPP Hinges on Successful Japan, US Trade Pact

Washington, DC – The successful forging of a comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact by the end of this year hinges on the US and Japan “reaching a compromise in bilateral trade negotiations,” according to a top level Japanese trade official.

Speaking at a recent meeting of the Center for International Strategic Studies, Hiroyuki Ishige, chairman of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), said that leaders in both Washington and Tokyo “need to make bold decisions and recognize the strategic importance of finalizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Each side, he said, “knows his counterpart’s red line. It’s time for them to show the political urge for compromise. There is no perfect TPP.”

Ishige’s comments come as the US and Japan continue with negotiations to resolve their own, often contentious, differences that have become a major hurdle in finalizing the pact, whose 12-member nations account for more than a quarter of total international trade and 40 percent of global economic output.

The US wants Tokyo to open up its rice, beef and pork, dairy and sugar sectors and smooth the way for US car dealerships, while Japan is keen for a timetable on Washington’s promise to eliminate tariffs of 2.5 percent on imports of passenger cars and 25 percent on light trucks.

The TPP is aimed at cutting tariffs and setting trade rules, and is central to the Obama Administration’s attempt to boost American exports to Asia and re-orient US foreign policy toward a region of growing economic importance.

The pact is seen as a precursor to a future wide-ranging free-trade arrangement for the entire Pacific Rim region.

The other countries negotiating the TPP are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.



Sempra LNG Export Terminal Gets Green Light

San Diego, CA – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has given Sempra Energy subsidiary, Cameron LNG, permission to site, construct and operate a natural gas liquefaction and export facility at the site of the company’s LNG (liquefied natural gas) receipt terminal in Hackberry, Louisiana.

The FERC permit is one of the last major regulatory approvals required to start construction on the $9 billion to $10 billion natural gas liquefaction facility.

The authorization approves the development of the three-train liquefaction facility that will provide an export capability of 12 million tons per year of LNG, or approximately 1.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcfd).

The agency also authorized a subsidiary of California-based Sempra Energy to construct a 21-mile, 42-inch natural gas pipeline expansion of the Cameron Interstate Pipeline, new compressor station and ancillary equipment that will provide natural gas transportation for the liquefaction facilities.

Earlier this year, Cameron LNG was awarded conditional approval from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to export LNG to countries that do not have free trade agreements with the US, including Japan and European nations.

Subject to a final investment decision to proceed by each party, the finalization of permits, project financing and other conditions, Sempra Energy will have an indirect 50.2-percent ownership interest in the Cameron LNG operation and the related liquefaction project.

The remaining portion will be owned by affiliates of GDF Suez S.A., Mitsui & Co Ltd., and a joint venture headed by the Mitsubishi Corporation.

“The liquefaction project is an international collaboration with our partners from Japan and France to create a world-class facility to deliver reliable LNG supplies for more than 20 years to some of the largest LNG buyers in the world,” said E. Scott Chrisman, vice-president of commercial development for Sempra LNG and project leader for the Cameron LNG liquefaction project.