After heading as far as Israel and China, unrestricted U.S. crude oil exports are set for another first since a 40-year ban on overseas sales was lifted three months ago: crossing the Panama Canal. Trafigura Group Pte., the trading house, is shipping a cargo of West Texas Intermediate oil via the 50-mile (80-kilometer) waterway linking the Atlantic and the Pacific en route to a refinery on Nicaragua’s western coast. The Panamax vessel DS Promoter is carrying 380,000 barrels of WTI to the 20,000-barrel-a-day Manref refinery on the outskirts of Managua, Trafigura said. Puma Energy International, in which the trading house controls a 49 percent stake, bought the refinery from Exxon Mobil Corp. in a deal announced in 2011. The canal’s giant locks, which lift vessels 85 feet above sea level to cross the Panama isthmus through the Gatun Lake, can’t accommodate the largest tankers, increasing the cost of shipping […]