Shell cleared to export light oil

Royal Dutch Shell has received approval to export a light, minimally processed form of crude oil from the United States.

Shell told The Wall Street Journal it got the approval from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security, with which it has been working to understand the rules regarding oil exports.

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Crude oil exports are generally banned from the United States under a 40-year-old law.

But the Commerce Department has been allowing some exports of a light oil known as condensate, under the reasoning that it is not crude oil if it is at least lightly processed.

Two companies last year received formal approval to export condensate, and Reuters reported that the agency is seeking to clarify rules to make it clearer that such exports are allowed under existing laws.

The country’s recent oil boom has caused an oversupply of light oil, which domestic refiners are not equipped to handle. It’s led some oil companies to lobby to be allowed to export the oil.