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Why US needs to repeal oil export ban: Hess CEO

The Russia-Ukraine crisis and the turmoil in the Mideast highlight the need to repeal immediately the American ban on crude oil exports, the CEO of Hess told CNBC on Monday. It would "go a long way" to reducing energy prices and increasing jobs in the U.S., he added.

"The ban was put in place in the 1970s at the time of the Arab embargo and a shortage," John Hess said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "Right now, we're in a supply strength with a lot of visibility to come."

While repealing the ban would probably cost his company money, he advocated doing it anyway. "It would probably put pressure on prices down. But it would be the right thing long term in terms of making markets open."

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Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat from North Dakota, also appearing on "Squawk Box," agreed, saying that lifting the ban could have implications beyond the U.S. "If we deploy these resources in a smart way, we'll not only help our industry in our state and in North America but we'll also help stabilize Europe."

Russia supplies 30 percent of Europe's oil and natural gas, said Hess, who along with Heitkamp, called for allowing the U.S. to export natural gas.

She has benefited greatly from the shale energy boom in her state, which has helped the U.S. emerge as the world's largest producer of natural gas and petroleum products, including crude oil, nat gas liquids, refinery processing gain and biofuels, according to the Energy Information Administration.

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Approving the long-stalled northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S. would go long way to help get North American-produced oil to the refineries, Heitkamp said. "I'd do it tomorrow."

"Is [Keystone] the salvation, as some people would argue, for the American economy? No," she said. "But it is a critical piece of energy infrastructure that we absolutely need in order to energy products to market."

—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere.

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