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Congress to lift US ban on oil exports

Lifting crude export restrictions will have little effect in today’s low-price environment

Congressional leaders in Washington have hashed out a deal as part of a larger federal budget agreement that will end the US’ 1970s-era ban on oil exports, handing producers a hard fought victory and clearing the way for US crude to play a larger role on international markets. Don’t expect significant exports in the near term though. In recent weeks Brent’s premium over the US WTI benchmark has narrowed markedly, and stood at just $1.50 a barrel as legislators voted on the final deal. That differential is less than it would cost to ship US oil to most places, making oil exports uneconomic in most cases. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any oil exports. Imports of light sweet oil into the G

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