DECEMBER 30, 2015 — NuStar Energy (NYSE: NS) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) look to have beaten out Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE:EPD) in the race to load the first export cargo of U.S.-produced light crude oil since a 40-year-old ban was lifted on December 18.
Last week, Enterprise Products partners said it expected to load a 600,000 barrel export cargo of U.S. crude the Enterprise Hydrocarbon Terminal (EHT) on the Houston Ship Channel "during the first week of January 2016" (see earlier story). It was widely thought that cargo would be the first loaded since the ending of the ban.
Today, though, NuStar Energy and ConocoPhillips announced they are loading an export cargo of Eagle Ford light crude oil/condensate that is expected to complete loading at NuStar's North Beach Terminal located in the Port of Corpus Christi on December 31, 2015.
Both the Enterprise Products and NuStar/Conoco cargoes are being loaded for Switzerland based trading company Vitol.
NuStar says it has invested heavily in recent years to expand its South Texas Crude Oil Pipeline System to move crude oil from the Eagle Ford Shale play to Corpus Christi. It says it has also made major investments in its Corpus Christi terminal operations with the addition of more storage tanks, dock space and automated systems that allow the company to better accommodate and provide logistics services for its customers, including the ability to load export-size cargoes from its docks.
"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 President and 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."
Mr. Barron noted that with the new dock, NuStar would have access to four loading docks in the Port of Corpus Christi, including two private docks, and would be able to load crude oil onto ships simultaneously on all four docks at a maximum rate of 90,000 barrels per hour.