After Washington chats, drillers hopeful U.S. will ease oil export ban

By Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Recent meetings between U.S. oil producers and Commerce Department officials have fueled industry hopes that the Obama administration may soon begin to ease a longstanding ban on oil exports. Although it would require an act of Congress to end the four-decade export ban, some analysts and executives believe the White House may be getting ready to open up the taps a bit, allowing some export of a super-light form of oil known as condensate, which falls into a regulatory gray area. Executives and sources said a number of major shale oil producers have quietly stepped up lobbying efforts over the contentious energy issue in recent weeks, meeting with officials from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which oversees exports. Analysts also pointed to comments by several senior administration officials this month about a possible overabundance of certain types of crude, particularly the variety produced in the Eagle Ford shale, which is rich in condensate.

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