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South Korea top of the list as US' Continental mulls oil exports

South Korea is at the top of the list for Continental Resources as it mulls over potential export destinations for crude and condensates, chairman and CEO Harold Hamm said Thursday.

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Hamm said exports of oil were a feature of Continental's longer term production growth plan, as US producers in general are looking to increase production amid higher crude oil prices.

South Korean buyers have been among the friendliest buyers reaching out to US producers, since the US lifted an effective ban on exports at the end of 2015.

"The first people that called me to congratulate on lifting the ban was South Korea," said Hamm, adding that the country was top of the list of possible lifters going forward.



Hamm said Continental wouldn't completely rely on traders buying crude for export and bringing the oil to export destinations through arbitrage in the spot markets. "Continental is capable of making those deals without other parties," said Hamm.

After hitting a record high in September, US crude exports fell 201,000 b/d to 491,000 b/d in October as Suezmax freight spiked and the Brent/WTI spread narrowed, an S&P Global Platts analysis of US Census Bureau data released earlier this week showed.

As a result of rising freight and the narrowing Brent/WTI spread, US crude exports to Europe fell from a record 209,000 b/d in September to just 68,000 b/d in October. In September, the US recorded 99,000 b/d in shipments to Singapore -- another record -- but the flow dried up completely in October.

--Dave Ernsberger, dave.ernsberger@spglobal.com

--Edited by Maurice Geller, maurice.geller@spglobal.com