It is part of out national oil and oil reserve policy of the United States. Since the world is very close to optimal oil production and some expert say that within 5 to 10 years the half-way point of all oil reserves of this world will be used. When this point is reached depending on what line you may lean to wards the general consensus is that oil prices will go through the roof! Some even predict a Mad Max existence if some viable alternative is not found and implemented. A lot of countries, US and Russia to name names, are not developing the reserves that they have because they are saving these reserves for the point when they have used up the rest of the worlds oil now they have a strategic advantage over the other not so fortunate countries that did not plan ahead. There are different stories of the exact time line and predicted public reaction to when this point will be reached but even the most conservative do not believe that the world will operate as it has for the last 100 or so oil rich years of plenty.
Difficult question, only can blame politics and companies like Halliburton, Crutcher Resources, and more. Don't think there is a call for export, but think that we should use our own resources while more energy efficient products are in the making. My husband worked in the oil industry, on rigs, in the Gulf of Mexico throughout the 80's. They were never told when they hit oil, but they knew when the the bigs wigs were flown in. Many times, their assignment would be to check a viable well discovered in the 50's, just to check the cap and make sure it was still in place. We have plenty of oil in the Gulf and Louisiana allows drilling, whereas, California has oil, but drilling isn't allowed. Also, there is untapped oil in North or South Dakota that could sustain the US for 60 years. Why isn't this in the media? Either state could use the proceeds and drilling could be done in an environmentally friendly way, so why isn't this looked at? Could it be that our government stole the mineral rights from our Native Americans and is holding out on us for political and personal financial gains from our outgoing administration?