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Well, that was quick.
ConocoPhillips and NuStar claim they have taken the lead in the race to export the first U.S. crude oil since Congress lifted the 40-year-old ban.
The two companies said they plan to finish loading the Eagle Ford crude cargo on Thursday at the Port of Corpus Christi. The announcement seemingly puts them in the lead over Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners, which said just last week that it will load 600,000 barrels of domestic light crude oil to Houston and load it onto a tanker in the first week of 2016.
Houston-based ConocoPhillips said it will sell the crude oil to Switzerland-based Vitol, which is an international trading company also buying the crude from Enterprise. San Antonio-based NuStar was contracted to transport and load the crude oil in Corpus Christi.
ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO Ryan Lance has long served as one of the most vocal proponents of lifting the crude oil ban. While the Congress’ actions this month are his real victory, making the first export shipment could also serve as an additional symbolic win.
[UPDATE: Bloomberg News reports the tanker is on its way to Italy, and another shipment is "scheduled to depart a Houston port within days."]
However, these companies racing to be the first to deliver U.S. oil to international customers is disproving that notion.
Earlier this year, ConocoPhillip’s Lance made the case for lifting the oil export ban at the U.S. Chamber:
We have to change the mind-set of scarcity. It’s really a hold-over from the last century. Today’s energy renaissance is real. It’s here for the long term. It can continue driving economic growth. And we can help ensure that by recognizing the new realities – and allowing oil exports.
Lance also sat down with Above the Fold to talk about how innovation and technology in the energy industry have driven America to a place of energy abundance.