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U.S. to export condensate for third month to Europe, South Korea: sources

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[September 15, 2014]  By Florence Tan and Meeyoung Cho

SINGAPORE/SEOUL (Reuters) - Exports of ultra light oil, or condensate, from the United States are set to continue for a third month, with two cargoes due to load in September for shipment to Europe and South Korea, two sources said on Monday.

The exports will take the total number of shipments of the lightly processed crude oil to five since the softening of a 40-year export ban.

Mitsubishi Corp <8058.T> has sold a cargo of condensate to load in the middle of this month to Koch Supply & Trading [KCHINS.UL] which will likely head to Rotterdam, the people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Another cargo to load later in September was sold by Mitsui & Co <8031.T> to South Korea's top refiner SK Energy, they said.

Spokespersons at Mitsubishi, Mitsui and SK Energy declined to comment. Koch could not be immediately reached for comment.

Washington is facing growing international pressure to ease its long standing ban on crude oil exports, although it has held back from issuing more export licences amid an ongoing debate between domestic producers and consumers.

U.S. oil producers are keen to export a growing surplus of light oil from shale resources that has depressed domestic prices while consumers, such as refiners, have lobbied to keep the export ban and ensure lower energy costs within the United States.

Two of the three cargoes exported so far have arrived in South Korea and Europe.

South Korean refiner GS Caltex, a joint venture between GS Holdings and Chevron Corp, received late last week the first cargo that was exported in late July, according to a source familiar with the matter and AIS shipping data on Reuters.

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Part of the second cargo sold by Mitsui to ExxonMobil onboard tanker Georgis Nikolos was unloaded at Rotterdam last week, shipping data showed. The tanker arrived over the weekend at the U.S. oil firm's refinery in Slagen, Norway.

Japanese refiner Cosmo Oil  will receive the third cargo at its Yokkaichi refinery on Oct. 3, shipping data showed. Each of the export cargoes is of 300,000-400,000 barrels.

(Reporting by Florence Tan in Singapore and Meeyoung Cho in Seoul; Additional reporting by Osamu Tsukimori in Tokyo; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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