Oil companies move to take advantage of new export law

Oil companies move to take advantage of new export law

A smattering of American oil companies are moving quickly to take advantage of a new law allowing crude oil exports for the first time in 40 years. 

In a statement, Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners said it would provide pipeline and terminal infrastructure for the first export of 600,000 barrels of American crude oil just after the New Year. 

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The cargo, which Reuters reports will belong to Vitol — which is still deciding on a final export destination — will be the first oil exported from the United States since Congress lifted the ban on exports as part of an end-of-the-year spending bill earlier this month.

“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,” A.J. Teague, the chief operating officer of Enterprise’s general partner, said in a statement.

The oil exports measure was pushed heavily by Republicans and oil-state Democrats, who agreed to extend a series of renewable energy tax credits in order to lift the export ban. 

The oil industry was broadly in favor of the measure, saying it wanted the chance to tap into the global market at the same time economic sanctions on Iran are lifted. 

Low crude prices internationally have led some analysts to predict light exports for at least the next few years. 

Enterprise isn’t the only oil company to move quickly on exports. Reuters reported Wednesday that Pioneer Natural Resources is also looking to begin exporting oil by the middle of next year.

"The company has been actively working with its midstream partners to secure export facilities along the U.S. Gulf Coast, which will maximize the company’s crude marketing flexibility going forward," the company said.