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Calls Growing to Ease Ban on US Petroleum Exports

Calls Growing to Ease Ban on US Petroleum Exports

Washington, DC – International pressure is growing on Washington from several major trading partners to ease, or end, the long-standing ban on US crude oil exports.

Mexico said recently that it could enter an agreements with the US on crude oil swaps or on direct imports, while one of South Korea’s leading refiners has opened discussions with the government in Seoul over how to encourage Washington to end the ban on ‘ultra-light sweet crude,’ and the European Union wants US oil and natural gas exports covered by the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.


According to Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), Mexico’s state-owned oil company, the country is seeking US-sourced oil because of a sharp decline in its own reserves.


South Korea, which relies on imports to cover more than 95 percent of its energy needs, has had to curb oil imports from major supplier Iran, due to US and EU sanctions introduced in 2012, and the EU is eagerly looking for an alternative to petroleum supplies from Russia.


Japan, while not pushing for an ease on the current ban, has said it’s interested in importing more of what can be pumped out of gushers in such states as Texas, Alaska and North Dakota, but only “if the supplies are economically feasible.”


While fully overturning the ban would require Congressional action that most consider unlikely in the near-term, many argue that the White House could gradually allow for more oil to flow abroad through existing means.


Due in large part to the increase in shale oil production, the US is soon expected to surpass both Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer.


In March, the US Department of Commerce approved the export of 500,000 barrels of lightly processed condensate exports to South Korea from two domestic companies. Three additional applications have been put on hold as the White House reviews its policies on the ban.




Barclays Selects Texas for New Tech Service Center

McKinney, TX – London-based Barclays Bank has selected McKinney, Texas, as the site for its newest “innovative technology” center.

The new 40,000-square foot center” will support the bank’s global operations “by providing technology support to the business and develop solutions for all the group’s activities and requirements including personal banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth management,” the bank said.

The move by the international financial services provider is a major score for the McKinney Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), which opened talks with Barclays in December 2013, when the UK-based bank expressed interest in siting its new operation in Texas.

The MEDC worked closely with the City of McKinney staff and City Council, the McKinney Community Development Corporation (MCDC), and others “to efficiently work on an expedited time frame. Barclays plans to move into McKinney Corporate Center in the fall of 2014,” the economic development agency said.

McKinney “presented Barclays a competitive opportunity with a high profile location along the Sam Rayburn Tollway, a highly educated and abundant labor pool, and sufficient parking for their employees,” said McKinney Economic Development Corporation Board Chairman, Ernest Lynch. “Our economic development team was able to move quickly to address Barclays’ needs.”

The new tech center will be sited in Craig Ranch, a 2,200-acre business, retail and residential community in McKinney, which is located about 30 miles north of Dallas and is considered one of the fastest-growing cities in the US.


KCS, Global Partners To Develop ‘Oil Train’ Terminal

Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS) is partnering with New England-based Global Partners LP to develop a unit train terminal in Port Arthur, Texas.

The waterborne terminal, which will be constructed on a 200-acre parcel leased from the KCS by Global Partners, will initially serve as a destination for heavy crude from Western Canada utilizing 340,000 barrels of initial storage capacity.

When fully operational with the commencement of unit train service, the terminal is expected to have an initial capacity of up to 2 unit trains per day.

Construction of the terminal is contingent upon Global Partner’s receipt of all necessary permits.

“The Port Arthur terminal represents a significant opportunity to capitalize on strong demand for the movement of Western Canadian crude initially to one of the world’s premier refining centers in the US Gulf Coast,” said KCS President and Chief Executive Officer David L. Starling.

“Through their established base in the Northeast, North Dakota, Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest, Global,” he said, “has built an outstanding reputation for the quality of its logistics and terminal operations.”

Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City Southern has railroad investments in the US, Mexico and Panama. Its primary US holding is the Kansas City Southern Railway Company, serving the central and south central US.

Its international holdings include Kansas City Southern de Mexico, S.A. de C.V., serving northeastern and central Mexico and the port cities of Lázaro Cárdenas, Tampico and Veracruz, and a 50 percent interest in Panama Canal Railway Company, which provides ocean-to-ocean freight and passenger service along the Panama Canal.

The railway’s North American rail holdings and strategic alliances are primary components of a NAFTA Railway system, linking the commercial and industrial centers of the US, Mexico and Canada.

Headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, Global Partners LP is a purchaser and seller of and logistics provider for domestic US- and Canadian-sourced crude oil and other products by rail across its “virtual pipeline” from the US Midwest and Canada the East and West Coasts for distribution to refiners and other customers.

The company owns, controls or has access to refined petroleum product and renewable fuel terminal networks throughout the US Northeast, and also distributes gasoline, distillates, residual oil and renewable fuels to wholesalers, retailers and commercial customers in New England and New York.

With a portfolio of approximately 900 locations primarily in the Northeast, Global also distributes natural gas and propane, and serves as the independent owner, supplier and operator of gasoline stations and convenience stores across the country.


Motorola To Shutter Texas Assembly Facility

Schaumburg, IL – After less than a year of operations, Motorola’s smartphone manufacturing plant in Fort Worth, Texas has been slated for closure by the end of 2014.

The Fort Worth factory employs about 700 workers who assemble the Moto X smartphones for the US market from parts produced in Asia. The plant is operated by Singapore-based international contract electronics manufacturer Flextronics Ltd.

Motorola was acquired in 2012 for $12.4 billion by Google, which announced earlier this year that it would sell Motorola to Chinese multinational computer technology giant Lenovo for $2.9 billion. The sale is expected to close by the end of the year.

lllinois-based Motorola envisioned that the Texas facility would supply US consumers with Moto X smartphones within five days, substantially faster than could be accomplished by importing them from overseas.

Moto X sales have slumped forcing the company was forced to cut the price of the phone and shoulder decreased profit margins.

The company said that it will continue to make the Moto X in China, Brazil “and other, more affordable locations,” where the costs for labor and shipping aren’t as high.