OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Redefining crude oil

DEVIL IN THE DETAILS: The path to opening up greater U.S. exports of crude oil may be through an ultralight oil, known as condensate.

Or at least, that is what Sen. Lisa Murkowski is betting on.

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The Alaska Republican is riding on a Commerce Department ruling to allow two Texas companies to sell light condensate oil that went through a minimal refining process to foreign buyers.

In a report released Wednesday by Murkowski, the senator draws a distinction between the Commerce Department's definition of "crude oil" and the definition used by at least six agencies in the Interior Department. The Interior agencies distinguish between what they define as crude oil and what defines as condensate.

If Commerce dumps its "30-year-old" definition of crude oil, Murkowski argues, there may be an opening for companies to export condensate overseas.

We will have to wait and see if the Murkowski's case is received well by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, who the senator is scheduled to meet with next week.

Read more here.

ON TAP THURSDAY I: The House is expected to vote on final passage of its 2015 appropriations bill for the Energy Department and Army Corps of Engineers.

The spending bill contains a number of controversial riders that prohibit the Army Corps from working on a number of administration rules, which seek to regulate mining waste, and protect wetlands and streams. The White House issued a veto threat on the bill Wednesday.

ON TAP THURSDAY II: The Wharton Club of DC will hold its July Green Business forum with guest Jeff Erickson, director of global projects at the Carbon War Room. He will discuss room for efficiency in buildings, shipping and trucking, along with renewable jet fuels and smart island economies. 

NEWS BITES:

Fracking ... Protestors waited for President Obama outside a Democratic fundraiser for Sen. Mark Udall's (D-Colo.) reelection campaign Wednesday in Colorado.

Protestors held signs that said "No freaking fracking," Pollute no more," and "No KXL" as Obama left the fundraiser in his motorcade.

Application fees ... The Department of Energy (DOE) is slashing by 60 percent the fees it charges applicants in its program for loan guarantees for low-energy fossil fuel projects.

Companies will now have to pay $400,000 to apply for the guarantees, compared with the $1 million DOE charged when it first announced the $8 billion of available guarantees in December. The initial application will only cost $50,000, and the remaining $350,000 must be paid if an applicant passes the first phase of screening.

AROUND THE WEB:

The water level at Nevada’s Lake Mead dropped Tuesday to the lowest level since it was created by the Hoover Dam in the 1930s, the Associated Press reports.

Oil companies believe that international exchanges of different kinds of oil might be the next small step in bringing down the United States’s crude export ban, the Houston Chronicle reports.

China will exclude electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles from purchase taxes as part of its effort to reduce pollution, Bloomberg News reports.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Wednesday's stories...

- House Republicans threaten to subpoena EPA over carbon rules
- House rejects cuts to DOE energy efficiency programs
- Chemical board still not cooperating, investigator says
- Murkowski pushes to redefine 'crude oil'
- Oil industry aims to be 'good neighbor' in fracking boom
- Rep. Graves files bill to stop all EPA regulations
- Bill would ban BPA in food packaging
- Senate panel to hold hearing on EPA climate rule
- GOP: EPA water rule could harm farmers
- Senate Dems to EPA: You're doing great
- Reid blocks amendments to sportsmen's bill
- Panel votes to cut EPA funding, block regulations
- Court to hear Keystone case in September
- McConnell dares Obama to visit coal miners
- Climate skeptics raising money for their own 'Inconvenient Truth'
- EU Parliament to consider carbon price fix this fall
- US, China strike deal on climate change projects
- Hagan hit on carbon tax again

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