USA: ExxonMobil exports first cargo of offshore crude oil after ban lift

ExxonMobil has shipped what is believed to be the first U.S. Gulf of Mexico crude oil to be exported since the 40 years long oil ban on U.S. crude exports was lifted in December 2015.

The U.S. oil giant has reportedly shipped a cargo of crude oil from the Gulf of Mexico to its Rotterdam refinery.

According to Reuters, 18,000 barrels of crude oil from ExxonMobil’s Gulf of Mexico Julia field was shipped on a Panamax tanker, the PGC Marina. The tanker is expected to arrive in Rotterdam on April 19.

The reported arrival date matches the one provided on the Marine Traffic website, where data show that the vessel departed New Orleans on April 3, with the arrival date set for April 19, and Rotterdam in the Netherlands, designated as final destination.

Reuters reported that this was the first known export of offshore crude oil from the U.S. ever since the Congress lifted the ban last December as all other previous shipments had been of light onshore oil.

The Julia discovery was made in 2007, and is estimated to have nearly six billion barrels of resource in place. ExxonMobil is the operator of the field and Statoil Gulf of Mexico LLC  is the partner, and both companies hold a 50 percent interest.

Julia development is located in the ultra-deepwater Walker Ridge area of the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 200 miles south of New Orleans, Louisiana, in approximately 7,000 feet (2,100 meter) water depth.

Julia is a subsea tieback to the Jack and St. Malo floating production platform, located approximately 15 miles away, which is operated by Chevron.

ExxonMobil spokesperson told Reuters that commissioning activities for the startup on the field were underway, with two wells completed and the third well underway.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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