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Should the United States Export Crude Oil?

Sunday - 6/23/2013, 4:00am  ET

For some time now, the United States has been exporting crude oil to Canada on a very small scale. These exports took place in an environment of declining U.S. oil production. Fortunately for Americans, the times have changed, and we are predicted to be energy-independent by 2035 because of a surge in domestic oil and natural gas production.

Aside from our national security, publicly traded companies are already trying to benefit from this scenario. Look no further than BP and Royal Dutch Shell , which both received permission last year to export crude oil from the United States to refineries in Canada. While this is a small start, the debate is likely to gain momentum for greater exports. This comes alongside the ongoing tensions surrounding exporting liquefied natural gas.

If this trend is to move forward on a larger scale, several refineries could see the prices they pay for domestic crude rise. Many have been exporting refined products for quite some time, so it would simply be adjusting the timing of exports to an earlier point on the production life-cycle. 

For information regarding the interesting dynamic existing for U.S.-based refineries, check out the roundtable discussion in the following video.

While these prolific production numbers we've seen lately might warrant lower oil prices, higher prices per barrel are certainly a potential reality. If you're on the lookout for some currently intriguing energy plays that could benefit from the later scenario, check out The Motley Fool's "3 Stocks for $100 Oil." For free access to this special report, simply click here now.