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Bakken Light Reaches Asia For the First Time

Oil Barrels

The first ever batch of North Dakota Bakken crude will reach Asia in the next few days as a result of Mercuria Energy Trading’s latest export deal, according to Reuters, which cited a relevant shipping document.

The Swiss energy trader shipped 600,000 barrels of crude from the Bakken formation along with Mars Sour crude from the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) onto the carrier Maran Canopus in late March. The vessel is destined for Singapore, according to the document.

North Dakota’s mix of light oil reached Europe last year, just months after the United States Congress lifted the decades-old ban on crude oil exports in December 2015. Japan may soon follow; refiners from the country say the formula of oil works well with existing facilities.

"It suits the refinery more," a Japanese refiner, who was not authorized to speak on the record, told Reuters.

The Dakota Access pipeline, once blocked by President Barack Obama due to concerns that the line would leak into water supplies, is slated to begin transporting crude from North Dakota to refineries in the south soon.

The pipeline is ready to start shipping crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken play, project operator Energy Transfer Partners said in a regulatory filing last month. The company said that it had put crude in a reservoir under the Missouri River, and that full-scale flow will begin soon. The reservoir is in the section of the pipeline under Lake Oahe that sparked protests from local Native American tribes and environmentalists.

Related: As Conflict Rages On, Russia Lands Oil Deals In Syria

"There seems to be increasing demand for light quality crude in Asia," Michael Cohen, Barclays’ head of energy commodities research, said. "I think with Dakota Access coming online, it makes the pipeline route from the Bakken to the Gulf Coast more economical."

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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