| SAN FRANCISCO, July 15
SAN FRANCISCO, July 15 The first condensate
cargo for export is due to load in Texas at the end of this
week, headed via the Panama Canal to Asia, shipping sources
Westport Petroleum Inc., the Franklin, Tennessee-based
shipping arm of Japanese trader Mitsui & Co.,
chartered the BW Zambesi, an LR1 tanker, also known as a Panamax
Reuters previously reported that Mitsui had bought a
400,000-barrel cargo, and is said to be being marketed to
refiners in Asia.
According to a Reuters shipping database, the BW Zambesi has
capacity of more than 76,000 deadweight tons (DWT). Shipping
sources said the BW Zambesi will likely carry less than its
maximum capacity, due to draft restrictions in the Panama Canal.
The $1.8 million one-way trans-Pacific trip is expected to
take a month or more, sources said.
The vessel is currently anchored outside of Galveston,
Texas. It arrived in the Galveston Offshore Lightering Area on
June 22, according to Reuters shiptracking data.
Shipping industry sources said this was the first cargo of
three purchased by Mitsui.
FIRST OF MANY?
The first cargo is a sign that U.S. oil companies could be
on the verge of unleashing light, gaseous petroleum from the
country's massive oil and gas fields to markets overseas. By the
end of the year, as much as 300,000 barrels could be exported
each day, according to an analysis by Citibank.
Two companies - Enterprise and Pioneer Natural
Resources - have approval from the U.S. Department of
Commerce to export condensate that had been minimally processed
to reduce volatility. U.S. condensate supply is estimated at
about 1 million barrels per day.
The approvals represent a softening of a total ban on U.S.
oil exports in place since the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s,
and they open up the United States to global oil consumers for
the first time in a generation.
(Reporting by Anna Louie Sussman; editing by Andrew Hay)