According to the Wall Street Journal, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry & Security is allowing shale producer Pioneer Natural Resources and midstream player Enterprise Products Partners, both of Texas, to send overseas some amount of ultra-light oil being produced onshore.
Neither company could be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday afternoon.
Producers of crude have been banned from exporting oil from the lower 48 US states since the 1970s. Refined products such as gasoline and diesel are OK to export.
According to the newspaper, the decision by the administration of President Barack Obama effectively redefines condensate as fuel after it has been “minimally processed”, making it eligible for sale abroad.
What qualifies as condensate is not clearly defined, according to the Journal.
The administration’s decision has not been formally announced and could not be independently verfied.
As the shale revolution has turned the US into a major producer of crude oil, calls to lift the export embargo have grown louder but have been resisted by those who claim exporting crude would raise domestic energy costs.