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U.S. poised to end oil-export limits forged in 1970s

The deal has been brokered to help smooth its passage through Congress, which may vote as soon as Thursday

Baku. 16 December. REPORT.AZ/ The U.S. is poised to reverse an energy policy that has helped define its relations with the world for more than a generation after congressional leaders agreed to lift the nation’s 40-year-old restrictions on crude-oil exports, Report informs referring to the Bloomberg.

The House and Senate on Tuesday evening reached a deal on tax and spending plans that included an end to the oil-trade limits, according to Representative Reid Ribble, a Wisconsin Republican , and Representative Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, who spoke after a meeting with fellow party members.

The deal has been brokered to help smooth its passage through Congress, which may vote as soon as Thursday. While President Barack Obama is opposed to lifting the ban, the White House has stopped short of threatening to veto the provision as part of the wider spending bill.

"It puts the United States in the driver’s seat of energy policy worldwide," Barton said. The change - still subject to Senate and House approval - "is a huge victory," he said.

Limits on U.S. oil exports would be lifted immediately, according to the bill released early Wednesday by the House Appropriations Committee. It would allow the president to impose restrictions on exports for national-security reasons and in case of a shortage.

Republican Representative Ann Wagner of Missouri said the proposal would extend tax credits for renewable energy such as wind and solar power -- measures sought by Democrats in exchange for lifting the oil export ban. Earlier Tuesday, people familiar with the discussions said the bargain would allow 5-year extensions of wind and solar tax credits and a two-year extension of the U.S. Land and Water Conservation Fund.

If Congress approves the deal in the coming days - and President Obama adds his signature - it would end trade limits established to counter the energy-supply shortages of the 1970s.

West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery declined as much as 62 cents to $36.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $36.77 at 4:20 p.m. in Singapore. The U.S. benchmark slid below $35 a barrel Monday for the first time since February 2009. The gap between WTI and Brent -- the North Sea grade used globally – was at 99 cents after closing Tuesday at $1.10, the narrowest since January.

Brent for January settlement, which expires Wednesday, slid 58 cents to $37.87 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The more-active February contract decreased 57 cents to $38.16.

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