Image courtesy of tableatny/Flickr.

ConocoPhillips is set to become the first U.S. company to start exporting crude since a 40-year ban was lifted last month.

The Houston-based company plans to finish loading its first shipment of U.S. crude on Thursday at NuStar Energy’s North Beach Terminal in the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas.

The shipment includes crude and condensate produced from the Eagle Ford shale play in Texas and is believed to be the first batch of exports following the ban’s repeal.

The crude will be sold to international trading company Vitol Group, but neither an exact shipping date nor the size of the shipment has been disclosed yet.

“Based on our investments in Corpus Christi and our South Texas pipeline system, NuStar was well-positioned, equipped and staffed to immediately begin loading cargoes for export,” NuStar President and CEO Brad Barron said.

The ban, enacted in response to the Arab Oil Embargo in 1975, was overturned on December 18 as part of a $1.8 trillion government spending and tax relief bill.

The bill allows U.S. producers to export light, sweet crude to international markets and could provide an incentive to boost production when oil prices recover.

While light crude has flooded the U.S. market since the start of the shale boom, international refineries are often better equipped to process light crude.

However, with oil prices still hovering near 11 year lows any short term impact the repeal will have on production impact is likely to be small.

West Texas Intermediate was trading at $37.84 per barrel on Monday morning, down from about $58.35 per barrel a year ago.


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