Enterprise to help export first U.S. oil batch

Houston-based company is the first to land export contract in nearly 40 years.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Dec. 24, 2015 at 7:01 AM
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HOUSTON, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- A Houston company said it agreed to provide the services needed to load the first shipment of domestic light crude oil from the United States since the 1970s.

Trading company Vitol, which has headquarters in Switzerland, is scheduled to load 600,000 barrels of light crude oil from a Houston shipping terminal with the help of Enterprise Product Partners during the first week of January.

"We are excited to announce our first contract to export U.S. crude oil, which to our knowledge may be the first export cargo of U.S. crude oil from the Gulf Coast in almost 40 years," Enterprise Chief Operating Officer Jim Teague said in a statement.

The White House last week signed off on a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that included language that, with certain provisions, lifted a 40-year ban on the export of crude oil produced in the United States. Lifting the ban had been a priority for mostly Republican lawmakers who argued energy regulations were outdated given the steady increase in U.S. oil production, largely from inland shale basins.

The Department of Commerce issued a statement earlier this week that said a license is no longer required to export crude oil.

"This action provides new markets to domestic producers, especially producers of light crude oil, and will provide global markets with supply diversification," Teague said in a statement.

The U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security, a division of the Commerce Department, in 2014 authorized two U.S. companies, Pioneer Natural Resources and Enterprise Products Partners, to export an ultra-light form of oil called condensate from the U.S. market. Processing steps meant condensate didn't qualify as crude oil under the terms of previous U.S. export laws.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said last week the United States already exports around 4.3 million barrels per day in the form of refined petroleum products and had waivers in place to export 500,000 bpd of conventional crude oil before the ban was lifted.

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