Last month, this blog covered how Ernest Moniz, the Energy Secretary, began reviewing the ban on U.S. crude oil exports. Now, the Wall Street Journal was the first to break the story this week of the Commerce Department's decision to allow two companies to export condensate, an ultralight oil with minimal processing.
Previous regulations allowed only fully refined fuels, such as diesel, to be exported. However, due to the recent increase in oil production as result of new techniques and technology, the country is facing a glut of condensate, and oil industry lobbyists finally have won over the Commerce Department to allow its export.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the increase in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing practices has spawned a "new wave of oil." Roughly 13 percent of oil extracted by this method qualifies as condensate, which the Commerce Department will now allow to be exported.
The Senator from Alaska, Lisa Murkowski, who also serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, praised the decision. "That reflects the new reality of our energy landscape," Senator Murkowski told the Wall Street Journal. "I continue to urge the administration to fully lift the ban on crude oil and condensate exports."
However, not all of her colleagues in the Senate share her optimism. Senator Edward Markey told the source he has reservations about the decision, and is hesitant to send more oil abroad in the face of unrest in Iraq and high tensions with Russia over the situation in Ukraine.
If the Commerce Department decides to further loosen the restrictions on oil export, many organizations could find themselves in need of oil and gas strategy consulting to determine the best practices for having their product reach new markets.