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United States Relaxes 40-year Ban on Crude Oil Exports

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Published on : Jun 25, 2014

In a step that marked the loosening of a four-decade-old ban on crude oil export by the United States, the country permitted two companies to ship out condensates. The U.S. Department of Commerce gave the green signal to Enterprise Product Partners and Pioneer Natural Resources Co for the export of an ultra-light type of oil. The decision for the approval was made following a private ruling. However, there was no immediate response from the Commerce Department or the companies in question on the matter. Currently, the export regulations of the United States allow companies to ship out diesel and gasoline (which are refined fuels), but crude oil doesn’t feature on that list.

In the recent past, the shale oil boom in the United States will put the company in a globally leading position as far as the crude oil production is concerned. With this, the United States will surpass both Russia and Saudi Arabia. Some export backers also feel that minimally processed ultra-light oil could potentially be reclassified as fuel. This would put it in a grey area as far as export regulations go, making it easier for exporters to find a way around export regulations.

According to a Reuters report earlier in May 2014, several oil producers from the United States had met officials from the DoC’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) – the body that oversees exports from the United States. In the backdrop of these developments, Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski, said that this decision to allow the export of condensates was a first step that indicates the changing reality of the country’s energy landscape.

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