Less than a month after President Barack Obama signed a bill abolishing America’s crude export ban, energy companies are positioning themselves to ship American oil overseas.
The first oil tanker left Corpus Christi on New Year’s Eve and is expected to arrive in Italy on Jan. 20. ConocoPhillips produced the oil from Eagle Ford Shale in Texas. The crude will be sold to international trading company Vitol.
During the shale boom, domestic production rose to new heights. Oil and gas companies updated the country’s pipeline networks so crude could be moved from shale fields in North Dakota and Texas to refiners on the coasts.
ConocoPhillips used these pipelines to send crude oil to NuStar Energy’s North Beach Terminal in Corpus Christi. The oil was loaded onto a tanker named Theo T.
For the first time in 40 years, a cargo of U.S.-produced crude was exported overseas.
NuStar has invested heavily in its Corpus Christi terminal operations. The San Antonio-based company owns approximately 8,700 miles of pipeline and 79 terminal and storage.
“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 in a press release. “And we plan on further expanding our Corpus Christi operations to provide more options to our customers to move Eagle Ford Shale crude oil, whether it is being moved domestically or internationally.”
These investments left NuStar well-positioned to immediately being loading cargoes for export.
Last week, Enterprise Products Partners loaded a tanker with 600,000 barrels of oil to be delivered to international trading company Vitol. The tanker left the Houston Ship Channel on Saturday en route to France. From there, it will travel by pipeline to a refinery in Switzerland.
Though, early American oil sales abroad are being shipped to Europe, industry officials expect markets in Asia and Latin America to develop.