Awash with oil from shale production the United States has taken a small step towards lifting its long-standing ban on the export of crude.
US government officials have given two companies the go-ahead to export something called condensate, an ultra-light oil, which has been partially refined to remove gases and make it more stable.
There is a glut of that type of shale oil in Texas and Louisiana where there are refineries but they are set up to process heavier crude from Mexico and Venezuela.
Energy-hungry Asian countries, on the other hand, are opening the type of refineries that could handle such ultra-light oil.
Washington banned US crude exports nearly 40 years ago in response to the Arab oil embargo and many US politicians want that ban to remain in force.
But the US now has shale oil to spare and is expected to soon become the world’s top crude producer, overtaking both Saudi Arabia and Russia.