Australian mining co. to export oil without US approval

BHP Billiton, an Australian mining and petroleum company, is about to export light oil from the U.S., despite the 40-year-old American ban on exporting crude oil

Australian mining co. to export oil without US approval

World Bulletin/News Desk

BHP Billiton, an Australian mining and petroleum company, is about to export light oil from the U.S. without the approval of the government, going against the 40-year-old American ban on exporting crude oil. 

A BHP Billiton spokesperson told The Anadolu Agency in an e-mail on Wednesday that the company plans to export processed condensate that has been fractionated in distillation towers at the company's Eagle Ford operations in south Texas, in the U.S.

The U.S. banned exporting domestically produced crude oil since the 1970s, after the Arab oil embargo had constrained the supply of oil for American consumers and producers who had faced soaring prices. 

Lifting the ban on crude oil exports has been a significant debate within the U.S. oil industry for the last few months, especially when the country enjoys increasing domestic oil production since the shale boom in 2008. 

Some U.S. oil producers are also planning to form lobbies to seek a way out of the ban on crude oil exports. 

"By classifying the export as condensate and not as crude oil, they can get around the ban," said Andrew Holland, an energy expert at the Washington-based American Security Project. 

"The ban is on exports of crude oil, but you are allowed to export refined products like gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. We export a great deal of refined products," he added. 

The spokesperson for BHP Billiton said that after taking the necessary time to thoroughly examine the issues involved, the company concluded that processed condensate is eligible for export.

"The processed condensate that BHP Billiton plans to export is not crude oil under BIS regulations," he added. 

Condensate is a type of light oil that is abundant in south Texas, which is lighter than most of the sweet crude oils, and easier to process into many petroleum products like gasoline.

"The U.S. can export condensate and condensate that is processed," said Ed Hirs, an energy economist at the University of Houston. 

"There is no limit on exporting refined product, and there has been cargoes approved for export," he added. 

The U.S. Department of Commerce, who authorizes licenses for crude oil exports, allowed two U.S. companies in June to export condensate overseas. 

 

Last Mod: 06 Kasım 2014, 12:04
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