The U.S. will allow two companies to export minimally refined light oil. The move comes amid the shale oil boom. Fred Katayama reports.
A softening of the four-decades-long export ban on oil: The U.S. will allow two companies to export a type of ultra-light oil if it has been minimally refined, according to the Wall Street Journal. The shipments could start as soon as August. It's unclear just how much the companies, Pioneer Natural Resources and Enterprise Product Partners, would be allowed to export. Stocks of both companies shot up at the market open. The U.S. hasn't changed its policy of banning crude oil exports. Rather, it's reclassifying what it regards as a processed product. A Commerce spokesman says it now considers the minimally processed condensate a petroleum product. Current law allows for US exports of refined fuel products like gas or diesel, but not crude, whose exports were banned during the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s. The move comes amid projections that the U.S. will displace Saudi Arabia as the world's top crude producer, thanks to the shale oil boom. And a private study financed by energy companies says removing the oil export ban would boost government revenues by more than a billion dollars. But don't expect Congress to lift the crude ban right away. The elections are in November, and they don't want voters to blame them for a move that could boost oil prices.