Louisiana Offshore Oil Port Loads Second Supertanker with U.S. Crude for Export

Nave Photon supertanker
Nave Photon. Photo: MarineTraffic.com/Tony Hogwood

reuters logoNEW YORK, March 28 (Reuters) – A second supertanker laden with U.S. crude set sail in March from the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), the largest privately owned crude terminal in the United States, the company said in a statement late on Tuesday.

The very large crude carrier (VLCC), Nave Photon, was chartered by Houston-based Shell Trading Company US and the cargo was headed for Asia, according to market sources familiar with the matter and Reuters vessel tracking data.

It was not immediately clear which grade of U.S. crude was being exported.

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“In response to multiple inquiries; LOOP LLC confirms that it has successfully completed the second Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) crude oil loading operation at its deepwater port, located 18 miles offshore of Port Fourchon, La. The vessel was fully loaded and sailed in March 2018,” the LOOP said in a statement on Wednesday.

Last month, LOOP completed the first VLCC crude oil loading operation at its deepwater port.

The first vessel that loaded was also charted by Shell, LOOP said, and the vessel that loaded the crude oil for export was the Saudi Arabian-flagged “Shaden,” traders said, though this could not be confirmed with LOOP.

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LOOP is the only U.S. port currently capable of fully loading a VLCC, the largest oil tankers which can ship some 2 million barrels of oil.

The U.S. lifted a 40-year ban on oil exports just over two years ago, and since then tankers filled with U.S. crude have landed in more than 30 countries.

U.S. crude futures’ discount to Brent widened to as much as $5.22 per barrel on Wednesday, the biggest since Jan. 24, opening up arbitrage opportunities, which effectively make it cost-effective to ship U.S. crude to foreign markets. (Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in New York and Florence Tan in Singapore Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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