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September 17, 2014

Finding a Market for U.S. Condensate Exports

As the Commerce Department moves to allow companies to ship off exports of mildly processed ultralight oil known as condensate, some might wonder if there is a global market to take in the excess.Currently the United States exports about 200,000 barrels of condensate per day, much of it to Canada to dilute the oil from tar sands so that it will flow through a pipeline. That amount is expected to double or increase even more, depending on the outcome of proposed pipelines like Keystone XL, according to Kevin Book, managing director of the research firm ClearView Energy Partners.

Recent Commerce Department rulings will likely result in increased amounts of exported condensate, which experts say will feed demand abroad. Former White House energy adviser Jason Bordoff said there is a market for condensate in Latin America and Asia to be used in in production of fuel and petrochemicals for manufacturing plastics or other products.

“The biggest share of that condensate market would be in Asia,” Bordoff said.

Demand in Asia and Latin America would be high enough to accept expected U.S. exports for 20 to 30 years, Maria van der Hoeven, head of the International Energy Agency told Reuters last week.

Correction: A previous version of this post attributed Book’s quote about the amount of current condensate exports to someone else.

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