Today, of all things, over at Twitter, a photo of a tanker carrying Bakken crude oil to Asia was posted:
The photo is linked to this Downstream Today story. Data points:
- first ever reported export of North Dakota's crude oil to Asia left port last month
- it is expected to be the first of numerous cargoes once the key DAPL starts moving oil in May
- Swiss-banked Mercuria Energy Trading S.A. loaded more than 600,000 bbls of Bakken crude, as well as some Mars Sour crude, in late March off the coast of Louisiana
- very large crude carrier (VLCC)
The burgeoning appetite for U.S. crude among Asian refiners could be a boon for Bakken crude, especially when the Dakota pipeline starts up.
That line can carry 470,000 barrels per day of oil from North Dakota's Bakken play to the Gulf, the starting point for the lion's share of U.S. oil exports. At least two Asian refiners told Reuters that they are interested in Bakken light crude because of the products it can yield through refining.
With the start of Dakota Access (DAPL), Bakken producers such as Hess Corp and Continental Resources for the first time will have a direct route to export terminals on the Gulf Coast, better connecting them to international markets.
"There seems to be increasing demand for light quality crude in Asia," said Michael Cohen, head of energy commodities research at Barclays. "I think with Dakota Access coming online, it makes the pipeline route from the Bakken to the Gulf Coast more economical."Memo to self: I need to send a note to Jane Nielson.
There are several story lines here. One has to do with the reason Asia might be preferring Bakken light. Long-time readers know this story.