The ink is barely dry on legislation to lift a 40-year-old ban on exporting U.S. crude and energy companies already are jockeying to ship American oil overseas.
Two tankers filled with freely traded U.S. oil have pulled out of Texas ports in the past two weeks, with more shipments expected. The first American oil sales abroad are flowing to Europe but, in the longer term, Latin America and Asia could become natural markets, according to industry experts.
U.S. oil sales to foreign buyers have been quick to start after President Barack Obama signed the bill that abolished the crude export ban less than a month ago. Big energy infrastructure companies including Plains All American Pipeline LP and Enterprise Product Partners LP have spent the past five years pouring billions of dollars into building new pipelines, oil storage tanks and dock space at ports.