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U.S. Talking Oil Exports Just When World Needs It Least

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The U.S. Congress is talking about allowing unfettered oil exports for the first time in almost four decades. Its timing couldn’t be worse.

There’s space in the global market for 1 million to 1.5 million barrels a day of U.S. crude if the ban vanishes, Energy Information Administration chief Adam Sieminski told a congressional subcommittee at a Dec. 11 hearing. That would be less than 2 percent of worldwide demand. With prices sliding amid a glut, the figure is bound to be even smaller, according to consultants including Wood Mackenzie Ltd.