HOUSTON, April 29 (Reuters) - A Texas-based affiliate of Mitsubishi Corp has exported the first condensate cargo from Texas International Terminals in Galveston, Texas, industry firm ClipperData said, as shippers increasingly find more berths from which to move the super-light U.S. oil to international markets.
Mitsubishi affiliate Cima Energy Ltd, an oil and gas marketer, had 451,281 barrels of lightly processed Eagle Ford condensate loaded onto the Overseas Leyte on March 29. The tanker arrived at Vopak’s EuroPoort terminal at the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands on April 18, ClipperData said.
Other sources familiar with the shipment said Cima shipped the condensate on barges from Victoria, Texas, to Texas International in Galveston, where enough built up to load in a tanker.
Neither Cima nor Texas International responded to queries about the shipment or whether Cima has U.S. government approval to export condensate.
The U.S. Department of Commerce has allowed companies to export condensate that has undergone enough minimal processing to qualify as a refined product, freeing it from the decades-old domestic crude export ban.
But one of the sources said Cima decided its condensate met that threshold and moved ahead with exports. BHP Billiton Ltd did the same thing last year, and the source said Cima’s barrels were processed at the same Texas facility BHP has used.
ClipperData said Cima’s cargo was the first known processed condensate shipment to be exported from Texas International, and the first in the Houston/Texas City region that did not ship out from a terminal owned by Enterprise Products Partners LP , among the first companies to get export approval.
Enterprise initially dominated condensate exports its docks in Texas City and later from Houston Ship Channel assets gained by its $4.4 billion acquisition of Oiltanking Partners LP last year.
But last month Royal Dutch Shell Plc, which also has approval, shipped out 480,000 barrels from a Corpus Christi dock shared by pipeline company NuStar Energy LP and Martin Midstream Partners LP.
NuStar did not handle that shipment, and Martin Midstream declined to say whether it did. However, Martin said the company can keep stabilized condensate separate from crude at its Corpus Christi terminal, which is necessary to ensure export-bound condensate does not comingle with other crude subject to the ban.
NuStar is building condensate-only storage as well, and Chief Executive Officer Brad Barron told analysts last week that NuStar hopes by year-end to segregate those volumes for export. (Reporting by Kristen Hays; Editing by Terry Wade and Lisa Shumaker)