WASHINGTON, June 25 (UPI) -- Though some petroleum products can leave U.S. ports, a ban on crude oil exports is outdated, the top Republican on the Senate Energy Committee said.
The U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security, a division of the Commerce Department, authorized two U.S. companies, Pioneer Natural Resources and Enterprise Products Partners, to ship so-called condensate.
Legislation enacted in response to the 1970s oil embargo by Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries bans the export of unprocessed crude oil, but products like gasoline and other fuel products aren't restricted.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee, said Tuesday the condensate decision is a good step toward matching policy with the energy landscape brought on by shale in the United States.
"The rules remain outdated, nonetheless, and should be modernized," she said. "I continue to urge the administration to fully lift the ban on crude oil and condensate exports."
"There has been no change in policy on crude oil exports," Commerce Department spokesman Jim Hock said, noting the decision on condensates doesn't represent a major shift in U.S. export policy.