A substantial number of U.S. refineries now process heavy oil from Canada, Venezuela and elsewhere (indeed the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline would supply these refineries along the Gulf Coast). But U.S. production of light oil from North Dakota and Texas is surging.
The U.S. oil-and-gas production boom is already fueling a strong industry push for U.S. regulators to allow a major expansion of natural gas exports. But it has also prompted discussions about whether the United States should consider easing restrictions on export of crude oil.
It’s a concept that The Wall Street Journal, in a recent story about potential exports, notes was “unthinkable a few years ago.”