The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Lorne Stockman,
Cate Bonacini,
Alan Septoff,

Report: U.S. Crude Exports Increased Nearly 600% From 2015 to 2020 After Lifting of the Crude Export Ban--Driving Permian Oil Production To Increase 135% Over the Period

Surge in oil production not driven by U.S. demand, but by exports to global markets. The U.S. exported 30% of crude oil production in 2020.


Oil Change International, Earthworks, and the Center for International Environmental Law today released the third chapter of the The Permian Basin Climate Bomb report series, centering on the relationship between the Permian's rampant oil production, export markets and the massive buildout of pipelines and infrastructure.

The latest installment reveals that while Permian oil production grew 135% from 2015 to 2020, U.S. oil consumption was stagnant. The spread of pipelines, export terminals, tank farms and petrochemical facilities across the Gulf Coast intensified environmental injustice in the region, and was driven by oil, gas and petrochemical exports, not rising U.S. demand.

The report adds that while oil drives drilling and fracking in the Permian, the export boom is not confined to crude. Since the first U.S. LNG terminal started exporting in early 2016, U.S. exports of gas, which previously were mostly via pipeline to Canada and Mexico, have tripled. In 2020, the U.S. exported 16% of gas production. If the current crop of proposed LNG plants go ahead, this could grow substantially. The gas export boom is significantly driven by burgeoning supplies of cheap associated gas from the Permian Basin.

The report highlights several proposed export terminals facing community opposition, including the Sea Port Oil Terminal (SPOT) located near Surfside Beach, TX, the Texas Gulflink Terminal near Jones Creek, TX, the Rio Grande LNG Terminal near Brownsville, TX, and the Plaquemines LNG Terminal near Ironton, LA.

Parts 4-6 of the series will be released over the coming weeks.

Read the third installment of the Permian Climate Bomb:

Read the third installment of the Permian Climate Bomb: (en espanol):


"The Permian Basin has, for the past decade, been the site of an oil and gas boom of unprecedented scale. Producers have free rein to pollute and methane is routinely released in vast quantities. Oil exports fuel Permian production growth and today they constitute around 30% of US oil production. While climate science tells us that we must consume 40% less oil in 2030, Permian producers plan to grow production more than 50%. This must not happen. Gulf Coast communities can no longer bear the brunt of this toxic trade or its climate impacts. Building back better means building back fossil free--starting with the Permian Basin." -- Lorne Stockman, Research Co-Director, Oil Change International

"Unless President Biden defuses the Permian climate bomb exploding in my backyard, we won't prevent catastrophic climate change or meet our national climate commitments. A 'code red' demands emergency action, not business as usual. The President can show he's serious about climate by declaring a climate emergency, reinstating the crude export ban, enacting the toughest possible rules to cut oil and gas methane pollution, and laying the political groundwork to end new oil and gas production." -- Miguel Escoto, Earthworks West Texas Field Advocate and El Paso resident.

"If the Biden Administration wants to be serious about its promise to demonstrate US climate leadership, it must first clean up its own backyard. The Permian Basin is the single largest fracking basin globally, and the continued reckless pursuit of oil extraction from New Mexico to the Gulf Coast is the ultimate display of hypocrisy. As long as wells are pumping, the United States enables a worsening climate emergency, endangers the health and safety of communities, and contributes to the destruction of ecosystems. The Administration must use all of the tools at its disposal to prevent the next decade in the Permian from being a repeat of the last. At a minimum, that means rejecting permits for new export facilities, petrochemical plants, and other fossil fuel infrastructure." -- Steven Feit, Senior Attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law

"The Permian climate bomb starts with oil and gas wells spewing toxics, including the ones across the street that forced us from our home. Cleaning up the Permian won't just help the climate, it'll protect the health of people that live here." -- Fort Davis, Texas resident Sue Franklin

"Gas from the Permian fuels the industrial beast of pollution in the Gulf coast, especially in Port Arthur, TX, my home. The facilities using this gas include the largest refinery in the country; the world's largest steam cracker, and the explosive expansions in refining, LNG, pipelines, and export facilities. This 'boom' has contributed to environmental degradation, significant loss of quality of life, nonattainment air quality, water-borne pollution, and diminished health for my fenceline community. Fracked Permian gas contributes to our significantly higher risk of cancer, heart lung and kidney disease. And then, the storms; give major hurricanes in the last 25 years! Catastrophic flooding and unseasonal weather events, all compounded by the greenhouse gases of the Permian. Port Arthur, and the entire Gulf Coast, has become a sacrifice zone, so America can feed it's thirst for toxic fossil fuels. We can no longer afford to be the unwitting victim of this exploitation from the use of fracked Permian gas; it needs to end, NOW! and utilize clean, green renewable sources of energy in its stead. We say, 'Keep it in the Ground'" -- John Beard, Port Arthur Community Action Network (PACAN)

Read the third installment of the Permian Climate Bomb:

Oil Change International is a research, communications, and advocacy organization focused on exposing the true costs of fossil fuels and facilitating the ongoing transition to clean energy.

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