(Adds background on crude oil ban)
NEW YORK, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Pioneer Natural Resources Co said on Monday that its first cargo of condensate from the Eagle Ford shale oil play was exported in late July following confirmation from the U.S. Commerce Department that the ultra-light oil could be exported without a license if processed minimally.
The company said its monthly condensate shipments are expected through year-end at prices higher than domestic levels. It added that Asian petrochemical demand for the Eagle Ford shale condensate is growing.
Last month, South Korea and Japan purchased the first condensate from the United States since what appeared to be the easing of a 40-year ban on U.S. crude oil exports. Sources said that South Korean oil refiner GS Caltex bought a condensate cargo to be loaded in late July. That cargo was marketed by Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co. Ltd., which had bought it from Enterprise Product Partners LP. .
Pioneer and Enterprise had been told in March that putting condensate through a stabilizer was sufficient processing to export it without a license.
In 2013, the company’s significant purchasers of oil, natural gas liquids and gas were Plains Marketing LP at 26 percent, Enterprise at 12 percent and Occidental Energy Marketing Inc at 12 percent, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corp, according to a Pioneer filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
More recently, sources said the Commerce Department has put on hold at least two companies’ request for permission to sell the lightly processed crude abroad as companies seek clarification on what can be legally exported. (Reporting by Catherine Ngai, additional reporting by Lorenzo Ligato. Editing by Jessica Resnick-Ault, Leslie Adler and Gunna Dickson)