First U.S. oil export leaves port; marks end to 40-year ban

By JOE CARROLL, SHEELA TOBBEN on 1/1/2016

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (Bloomberg) -- The first U.S. shipment of crude oil to an overseas buyer departed a Texas port on Thursday, just weeks after a 40-year ban on most such exports was lifted.

The Theo T tanker has left NuStar Energy LP’s dockside facility in Corpus Christi, Texas, along the western shore of the Gulf of Mexico, Mary Rose Brown, a spokeswoman for NuStar, said in an email. The ship is carrying a cargo of oil and condensate to Italy from ConocoPhillips’s wells in south Texas that was sold to Swiss trading house Vitol Group.

A campaign by oil explorers including Continental Resources Inc., Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. to lift the 1970s-era export prohibition culminated in a Dec. 18 congressional decision to end the ban.

Vitol, which owns stakes in refineries from northern Europe to Australia, has a second cargo of U.S.-sourced crude scheduled to depart a Houston port within days.

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