The first US crude oil shipment since the 70s is heading for Italy

There’s been more than enough bad news to go around so far today, so let’s get to something which is at least on the positive side. Most of you recall the massive spending deal which went through at the end of the last congressional session with a bad taste in your mouth… and for good reason. But the one, small bright spot in that very bad day was that the U.S. crude oil export ban was lifted in exchange for the far, far too many horrible things which were given away to the Democrats. Just this past week, the door which was opened had its first traveler slide through, as Kerry Picket reports at the Daily Caller.

The first crude oil shipment exported from the United States, after a 40 year ban, left from Corpus Christi, Texas last Thursday.

NuStar Energy and ConocoPhillips loaded a vessel with light crude oil pumped from the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas at NuStar’s North Beach Terminal at Port Corpus Christi. The crude is to be sold to the international trading company Vitol.

“Infrastructure improvements at Port Corpus Christi have placed our port in a unique position as a critical component in the export of U.S. crude and condensate. Port Corpus Christi’s deep draft ship channel and strategic location to some of the largest production areas in the US provides a secure and competitive supply chain to markets worldwide,” John LaRue, Port Corpus Christi Executive Director, said in a statement.

Argus Media reports that the vessel – the Theo T – got underway but won’t be the only carrier heading for Europe. Vitol will be purchasing a shipment of product from Enterprise Products Partners, scheduled to load at the Enterprise Hydrocarbon Terminal (EHT) on the Houston Ship Channel. The opportunities presented here stretch well beyond the simple ability to bring more crude oil products to market and strengthening the position of our allies across the Atlantic. In order to efficiently load and ship crude in large quantities, some of the biggest tankers in service will be required. That means that some of the ports, including Houston, will need to do additional dredging and modernizing of their terminals to keep up with the demands of 21st century shipping infrastructure. And that means more jobs here at home.

I wanted to include an interview with ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO Ryan Lance, released by the US Chamber of Commerce. He has a lot of insight as to where we stand to reap the most benefits from this expansion and how our partners in the western world can gain some traction at the same time.

None of this makes the spending deal worthwhile, mind you, but we may as well enjoy what small benefits we got from it. When the private industry was cut loose to explore this opportunity they moved at lightning speed and it should only pick up from here.