San Juan County Commission to consider crude oil export ban

Dan Schwartz
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The San Juan County Commission on Tuesday is scheduled to consider urging the federal government to lift a decades-old ban on exporting crude oil.

If the U.S. Congress overturned the ban it would create approximately 3,700 more jobs and about $640 million in revenue for New Mexico by 2020, according to the resolution commissioners are expected to consider.

Politicians and other local-government officials around the country are discussing the issue, according to media reports. The U.S. created the ban in the 1970s to protect the country's domestic supply and stabilize prices while limiting its dependence on imports and exposure to then-volatile global crude markets.

Locally, officials say exporting crude oil would boost manufacturing businesses such as the Process Equipment and Service Company, or PESCO. These businesses supply services and material that support oil and gas drilling, so their sales can fluctuate with the price of oil on the commodities market.

"Each rig that is out there (on the oil field) supports 224 jobs," PESCO President Kyle Rhodes said. "That's through the direct supply chain."

PESCO can employ about 17 people a week for each rig pumping from a well, Rhodes said.

Lifting the ban would open up markets, encouraging oil companies to drill more wells, which would put more rigs in operation and create more support jobs, he said.

"We would support lifting of the oil export ban," said Ray Hagerman, Four Corners Economic Development CEO.

The county contains many manufacturing companies, which sell about three-quarters of their products out of the county, Hagerman said.

The county commission will meet at 4 p.m. on Tuesday in the county's administration building at 100 South Oliver Drive in Aztec.

Dan Schwartz covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606 and Follow him @dtdschwartz on Twitter.