Breaking News: US Relaxes Crude Export Restrictions

Adam Feik - Contributor - Energies

The US Commerce Department on Tuesday announced it started on December 8th approving a backlog of requests to export certain, specific forms of processed light oil. Crude exports have been banned since 1975. Tuesday’s announcement doesn’t end the crude oil export ban entirely, but the department on Tuesday did also issue long-awaited guidelines “outlining exactly what kinds of oil other would-be exporters can ship.” (Reuters)

Reuters reported this new action “effectively clears the way for the shipment of as much as a million barrels per day of ultra-light U.S. crude to the rest of the world.” Ed Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup, was quoted as saying US condensate exports could rise from 200,000 bpd to as much as 1 million bpd by the end of 2015, thanks to this new regulatory change.

For now, exports of untreated crude remain banned. Refined fuels such as gasoline and diesel, though, have not been banned from selling abroad. The question has been at what point crude becomes “refined,” and thus eligible to be exported. “Processed condensate,” a semi-refined form of the product, has been a gray area. Continue reading "Breaking News: US Relaxes Crude Export Restrictions"