Oct. 29–The Port of Corpus Christi and investment firm The Carlyle Group will team up to develop an inland crude oil export terminal for some of the world’s largest oil tankers.
The project on Harbor Island, just two miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, would allow Texas’ booming oil production to be exported around the world on some of the largest crude oil tankers.
The terminal will include two loading docks and allow very large crude carriers, or VLCCs, to dock. The tankers are preferred by exporters because of their ability to export 2 million barrels of oil per ship.
A separate storage area would be located somewhere across Redfish Bay, which lies to the west of Harbor Island. The cost of the Harbor Island project could be upwards of $1 billion, according to the port’s CEO Sean Strawbridge. It is expected to be operational in late 2020.
Analysts have said the majority of new U.S. crude oil production will be exported as American refineries are unable to process much more of the light, sweet crude produced in areas like the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale.
The Carlyle Group, a Washington global asset manager, and the Port of Corpus christi will pay for the construction of the terminal. The Carlyle Group will secure private funding for dredging along a portion of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel to Harbor Island down to 75 feet, the depth required to allow fully laden VLCCs to leave the Corpus Christi Ship Channel.
VLCCs can only partially load inside the ship channel before moving offshore to be fully filled, or lightered, by smaller tankers.
An opposition group called the Port Aransas Conservancy formed soon after the plans for Harbor Island were revealed in mid-2018. The Conservancy has been concerned about potential environmental impacts and that the project could damage tourism for Port Aransas, a small town that sits across the Corpus Christi Ship Channel from Harbor Island and relies heavily on visitors for its economy.
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