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Oil industry fight erupts over exports

IPAA: complaints are about competition.

By Daniel J. Graeber

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- The Independent Petroleum Association of America said it rejected complaints over decisions that cleared the way for the export of petroleum products.

Crude oil exports are restricted under legislation enacted in the wake of the oil embargo imposed in the 1970s by Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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Refinery consortium Consumers and Refiners United for Domestic Energy last week said a June decision by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security to clear exports of so-called condensate as a petroleum product rather than crude oil was incorrect.

IPAA said the refiner's real complaint has more to do with competition than the "realities surrounding U.S. energy security." IPAA argues for more exports, citing the exponential rise in U.S. oil production that came as a result of the shale boom.

"It's sad that an organization that purports to stand up for consumers would distort the plain language of regulations to limit competition," IPAA said.

The Commerce Department in June said the decision on condensates does not represent a major shift in U.S. export policy.

The department's decision upset Senate Democrats, who said it lacked the authority "to issue exemptions for condensates or some subset of condensates from the crude export restrictions."

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