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ConocoPhillips Loads First Eagle Ford Crude For Export

ConocoPhillips on Thursday (Dec. 31) expected to finish loading what it believes is the first domestic cargo of crude oil to be exported since the lifting of the 40-year ban on such exports on Dec. 18.

The producer committed to sell Eagle Ford light crude oil/condensate to international trading company Vitol. The cargo was being loaded at NuStar Energy's North Beach Terminal in the Port of Corpus Christi, TX.

Enterprise Products Partners LP said recently that it planned to export its first cargo of domestic crude in January (see Shale DailyDec. 24, 2015).

NuStar has been expanding its South Texas Crude Oil Pipeline System to move crude from the Eagle Ford to Corpus Christi. The company has also made investments in its Corpus Christi terminal operations with the addition of more storage tanks, dock space and automated systems (see Shale DailyFeb. 14, 2014). Three years ago, NuStar and ConocoPhillips made a pact for NuStar infrastructure to support ConocoPhillips Eagle Ford production (see Shale DailyDec. 17, 2012).

"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," said NuStar CEO Brad Barron. "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. In fact, we are currently in the process of developing a second private dock in the Port of Corpus Christi."

Barron said with the new dock, NuStar will have access to four loading docks in the Port of Corpus Christi, including two private docks, and will be able to load crude oil onto ships simultaneously on all four docks at a maximum rate of 90,000 bbl per hour.

The lifting of the export ban was long sought by domestic producers, but analysts said it is not expected to do much in the near term to lift commodity prices (see Shale Daily, Dec. 16, 2015).

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