Eagle Ford condensate producers win, refiners lose in oil export decision

|By:, SA News Editor

The decision to allow two Texas companies to export condensates looks like a win for Eagle Ford Shale crude producers at the expense of refiners and companies planning to build processing plants along the Gulf coast.

Today's selloff in refiners reflected concern that the groups will lose some of their competitive edge if condensate exports become common: Valero Energy (NYSE:VLO), the largest U.S. refiner, dropped 8.3%, PBF tumbled 10.7%, PSX fell 4.2%, and HFC slid 6.7%.

Oppenheimer notes that PXD, DVN, MRO, COP and MUR produce the most Eagle Ford condensate, and could benefit if U.S. condensate prices close some of the gap with European prices; EOG, the largest Eagle Ford producer, produces little condensate and likely benefits little from the lifting of the condensate ban.

Investor reaction toward Gulf Coast gathering and processing MLPs such as EPD, MMP, KMP and NGLS was more muted, since plans to build splitters in Texas may be undermined by even modest rule changes in the crude export ban that allow Eagle Ford producers to sell condensate after running it from the wellhead to their own nearby - and much cheaper - distillation towers.