The Obama administration has quietly cleared the way for the first exports of unrefined American oil, allowing energy companies to chip away at the four-decade ban on selling U.S. crude overseas.Federal officials have told two energy companies that they can legally export a kind of ultra-light oil that has become plentiful as drillers tap shale formations across the U.S. With relatively minimal processing, oil shipments could begin as early as August, according to one industry executive involved in the matter.Using a process known as a private ruling, the U.S. Commerce Dept.’s Bureau of Industry and Security is allowing Pioneer Natural Resources Co. of Irving, Texas, and Enterprise Products Partners LP of Houston to export ultra-light oil known as condensate to foreign buyers who could turn it into gasoline, jet fuel and diesel.Both companies confirmed they had received the rulings.
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