BHP tests export ban with shipment of Texas oil

BHP Billiton Ltd. has struck a deal to sell approximately $50 million worth of ultralight oil from Texas to foreign buyers. However, the organization has yet to receive formal approval from the U.S. government for the sale. The Wall Street Journal expects that this could be "only the first of many such moves" as prices slip and higher prices for crude are sought outside the U.S.

The export ban has become a point of contention as domestic production has skyrocketed, thanks to novel drilling and production techniques. It was only eight months ago that the first U.S. energy firm was allowed to export lightly-processed domestic crude. Many other organizations have applied for permission, but have reached only political gridlock.

BHP argues that its shipment meets U.S. standards for export, as it has been minimally processed in distillation towers in South Texas. 

"We took the necessary time to thoroughly examine the issues involved and ensure that the processed condensate was eligible for export," a spokesperson for BHP told the Wall Street Journal. 

Experts quoted by the source explain that there has been a dramatic increase in lobbying for the export of domestic crude. It has been anticipated that the delay in any decision may lead to organizations "self-classifying" processed condensate, especially after the recent Saudi oil price adjustment. 

While the industry awaits the federal reaction to the decision, organizations can be prepared for any changes in regulation by retaining change management consulting. As the industry confronts  the challenges that arrive with slipping oil prices, the targeted expertise provided by oil and gas strategy consulting may help to identify the best path forward.