While recent rulings have given two Eagle Ford players legal standing to ship processed condensate overseas, it remains unclear how much of this condensate is being exported and even how much is currently being produced domestically, the head of the US Energy Information Administration said Monday.
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The processed condensate currently being exported is being tracked as a middle distillate, along with kerosene and diesel, making it impossible for agency officials to determine just how much condensate is being shipped, EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski said during a Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy event.
Sieminski said the US is capable of producing from 100,000-400,000 b/d of processed condensate, adding that nearly all exports would likely originate from Eagle Ford shale. He said processed condensate growth was possible in the Permian and Bakken shales, but said this was less viable than the Eagle Ford, due to proximity to the Gulf Coast and rules which prohibit segregation of other streams.
Sieminski said EIA and other federal government officials are working together to track processed condensate exports in a separate category, but said the issue was further complicated by the lack of standard definitions between agencies.
"What condensate is, is up in the air," he said, pointing out that there was no government standard definition of refinery, distillation tower or even distillation.
In June, US Commerce Department rulings gave Enterprise Products Partners and Pioneer Natural Resources legal backing to export condensate that is processed through a distillation tower.
Last week, Jim Teague, Enterprise's chief operating officer, said that Enterprise has exported four cargoes of US processed condensate over the past three months and plans to ship about five more from its Texas City facility before the end of the year. The cargoes range from 300,000 to 600,000 barrels.
Pioneer Chief Operating Officer Tim Ford also said last week that his company has exported three cargoes of processed condensate to Japan, Rotterdam and Singapore.
About one third of all US condensate, or about 308,000 b/d, is produced in the Eagle Ford, analysts with Bernstein Research said in a report Monday. Condensate accounts for about 8% or 900,000 b/d of current US liquids production, analysts said.
The EIA is in the process of developing a study on the impact of US and international gasoline prices as well as another on processing costs. Both studies, part of the agency's ongoing look at US export policy, are expected to be released next month.
EIA is also awaiting approval to do an analysis of wellhead oil production that will itemize crude production by API gravity. Work on that analysis is expected to begin next year with the first estimate released in mid-2015, Sieminksi said.