New Year, New Markets

The era of crude oil exports has begun. With the start of the New Year, ConocoPhillips and NuStar Energy LP exported the first shipment of U.S. crude oil into the global market after a 40-year ban. The move underscores the United States’ shift towards a modern energy policy bringing energy security to ourselves and foreign allies.

Sailing from Corpus Christi, Texas, the crude oil was purchased from the Dutch international trading company, Vitol Group, and is set to arrive in Italy. Vitol’s quick response to purchase American crude suggests that predictions of European refineries’ increasing desire to obtain sources of energy from the U.S. are correct. And paired with Russia’s unstable economy due to sanctions, Europe has every reason to turn to the U.S. as a stable source of energy.

The geopolitical implications of allowing U.S. crude exports are further underscored by increased tensions in the Middle East. According to The Wall Street Journal this, “Serve[s] as a reminder that, despite the sharp fall in oil prices over the last two years, the Middle East, which produces almost one-third of the world’s crude, remains a volatile region.”

The immediate lunge from American companies to export their crude oil is also impressive. Less than two weeks after the federal government lifted the restrictions, ConocoPhillips was the first to export, followed by others including Enterprise Products Partners LP. This swift action highlights America’s capability to export crude oil quickly and efficiently, especially from ports along the Gulf Coast where pipeline infrastructure and American tankers are readily available.

The floodgates have been opened. After 40 years, the United States is exporting crude oil and will further cement its place as the globe’s leader in energy.