The U.S. oil export ban was put in place more than 40 years ago in order to protect the U.S. from international oil price spikes, such as those caused by the Arab Oil Embargo.
Throughout 2015, the debate raged: to lift or not to lift the ban?
Finally, on December 18, President Obama signed a bill into law that allowed exports to certain free-trade countries.
And no sooner was the decades-old oil export ban lifted than crude oil began flowing out of U.S. ports.
On Thursday, December 31, 2015 the first tanker full of freely traded U.S. crude left Corpus Christi, Texas.
According to NuStar, the oil condensate was purchased by Dutch Vitol Group and is now headed to a port in Italy in the tanker Theo T.
The crude was supplied jointly by Oil Major ConocoPhillips and and NuStar Energy LP. This supply came from the nearby Eagle Ford shale play.
The Eagle Ford play has some of the lowest break-even prices among U.S. shale plays, and producers there may start seeing the benefits of being so close to the Gulf of Mexico when exports ramp up.
That is, of course, if they can find buyers for that supply.
This shipment beat out one by Enterprise Products Partners LP, which had previously claimed it would have the first outgoing shipment in January.
The next cargo is expected to ship out this week from Houston, Texas.
According to NuStar, this supply is also going to Vitol Group. This company has assets to refine the U.S. crude, including a subsidiary-owned Swiss refinery as well as various refineries in northern Europe and Australia.
Make no mistake, this is only the beginning of oil exports for the U.S.
To continue reading about the first U.S. oil exports in decades, simply click here to read the Bloomberg Business article or here to read the Wall Street Journal article (May need a subscription to read in full).
Until next time,
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