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The Commerce Department reportedly has given two energy companies permission to ship a type of unrefined ultralight oil to foreign buyers, loosening a nearly 40-year-old ban on oil exports.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the shipments of condensate from Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and Enterprise Products Partners LP could begin as soon as August. The buyers could then turn the oil into gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel.
The Journal report said that the shipments had been approved earlier this year and the amounts exported were likely to be small. The Commerce Department issued a statement late Tuesday saying there had been “no change in policy on crude oil exports.”
Under current U.S. law, companies can export refined fuels such as gasoline and diesel, but cannot ship out oil itself. The Journal reported that the Commerce Department’s ruling defines some ultralight oil as fuel once a small amount of processing has been done.