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Thanks to the long-delayed November decision by the U.S. Department of State to reject a permit, the United States will not get the Keystone XL pipeline. But it will always have the Keystone State.
Big-ticket energy projects continue to move forward in the traditional Gulf Coast energy capitals in Texas and Louisiana, as well as in the shale-gas territories of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Louisiana and other states.
In some cases they even involve crude oil. On December 18 — 42 days after President Obama said of the Keystone XL decision, "... we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky" — the U.S. Congress lifted the 40-year federal ban on exports of oil produced in the United States. The ban was enacted in the 1970s in response to an export embargo to the United States enforced by Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). US oil production now is close to that of Saudi Arabia.
“Lifting the crude oil export ban will boost the American economy, fostering job creation and lowering energy costs at home," said US Senator John Cornyn.
As 2015 wound down, San Antonio–based liquids terminal and pipeline operator NuStar Energy and ConocoPhillips loaded the first ship full of Eagle Ford light crude oil/condensate to be sold to international trading company Vitol, and it set sail on New Year's Eve from NuStar's North Beach Terminal at the Port of Corpus Christi.
NuStar has invested heavily in recent years to expand its South Texas Crude Oil Pipeline System to move crude oil from the Eagle Ford Shale play to Corpus Christi, including major investments at its port terminal.
“Based on our investments in Corpus Christi and our South Texas pipeline system, NuStar was well-positioned, equipped and staffed to immediately begin loading cargoes for export,” said NuStar President and CEO Brad Barron. “And we plan on further expanding our Corpus Christi operations to provide more options to our customers to move Eagle Ford Shale crude oil, whether it is being moved domestically or internationally. In fact, we are currently in the process of developing a second private dock in the Port of Corpus Christi.”