Companies Line Up to Export U.S. Crude Oil

With American refineries now running close to full tilt processing more oil than ever before, there is an effort underway by a number of industry players to pressure Uncle Sam to legalize the export of crude — in particular the super-light oil called “condensate” that is the product of America’s current shale-oil production boom.

Federal law says that crude oil cannot be exported, a legacy of the supply concerns unleashed by the 1973 Arab oil embargo. However the Department of Commerce recently gave the green light to two domestic production companies for export of condensate after they claimed the field process that strips the oil of some volatile elements transformed the liquid into a quasi-distilled product, therefore making it legal to export. Now several more companies are applying to get waivers from the ban so they too can ship condensate to customers overseas.