There was a lot of hoopla recently over the news that the U.S. Department of Commerce had seemingly loosened rules governing the export of condensate — light weight hydrocarbons recovered from oil and gas wells. The excitement was palpable; shares in oil refiners sold off. Was this the start of the big policy shift that oil producers have been dreaming of? An end to the 40-year oil export ban?
Maybe. But not in the way people thought. “I’m not sure reality lived up to the fanfare,” says Harold York, principal analyst with energy consultancy WoodMackenzie.
Andy Weissman, senior energy advisor at law firm Haynes & Boone says, “I think it’s quite important, but it’s a very technical ruling, like dotting an ‘i’ more than anything else.”The White House, caught off guard by the initial coverage in the Wall Street Journal, said there had been no change in oil export policy. It’s still illegal to export American crude.The Bureau of Industry and Security had, it seems, done little more than issue private letter rulings to Pioneer Natural Resources PXD -0.11%and Enterprise Products Partners agreeing that those companies’ plans for processing condensate were sufficient to qualify the condensate as exportable.
Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2014/06/30/the-real-significance-behind-that-oil-export-hoopla/il. It’s still illegal to export unprocessed “lease condensate.”