NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Oil companies are edging closer to seeing the 40-year-old ban lifted on crude oil exports. But whether Congress caves in or Obama gives his OK, Tesoro (TSO) , the biggest refiner in the Western United States, is set to fire on all financial cylinders.
Tesoro, however, is also cognizant that lifting the crude oil export ban could create problems in the industry. A removal of the ban could result in American refiners losing their price advantage, in which the gap between the American WTI oil benchmark and the European Brent oils benchmark may narrow. At the same time, however, lifting the ban will give U.S. crude oil companies a larger market to sell their products.
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"Lifting the crude oil export ban in isolation effectively picks winners and losers in the marketplace," Tina Barbee, a Tesoro spokeswoman, said in an email interview to TheStreet. She noted, however, Tesoro supports the concept of "free trade and free markets."
Nonetheless, everything seems to be going great for Tesoro, which in late October posted better-than-expected third quarter results, as it extracted greater cost savings from its operations. Excluding one-off items, Tesoro's net income climbed to $3.06 a share in the third quarter from 44 cents a share a year ago. Wall Street analysts were expecting $2.16 a share, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters. The strong performance was due to higher profit margins for its oil refinery business and an increase in sales at its retail gas stations.