SHARE

The Commerce Department has reportedly given the green light to two firms to export condensate to foreign buyers, loosening a nearly 40-year-old ban on oil exports.

Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and Enterprise Products Partners LP could begin exports as soon as August, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The condensate could be refined into gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel.

The WSJ report said the shipments were likely to be small.

The Commerce Department issued a statement late Tuesday saying there had been “no change in policy on crude oil exports.”

U.S. law allows export of refined fuels but not crude oil.

The Commerce Department has apparently ruled that condensate is equivalent to ultra-light crude but has been refined slightly and is therefore eligible for export.

The export ban went in effect in 1975 in response to the OPEC oil embargo triggered by Western support for Israel during the Yom Kippur War.

U.S. oil output grew by 1.8 million barrels a day between 2011 and 2013, with 96% of new production in the form of light or ultralight oil, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The Wall Street Journal said crude exports next year could reach 700,0000.