Carlyle Group to Develop VLCC Oil Export Terminal at Port of Corpus Christi

Mike Schuler
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October 29, 2018

The oil tanker Theo T departs the port of Corpus Christi with the first export cargo of US crude oil after the United States government repealed a 40-year ban on the export of crude oil in December 2015. Picture taken December 31, 2015. Photo credit: Port of Corpus Christi

Private equity firm The Carlyle Group announced Monday it has signed an exclusive agreement with the Port of Corpus Christi to develop a major crude oil export terminal that is capable of handling fully-laden Very Large Crude Carriers.

The terminal will be located on Harbor Island, which is situated on Red Fish Bay opposite the city of Aransas Pass, Texas. The site encompasses 256 acres of most undeveloped land that includes deep-water, highway, and channel frontage.

The project would create the first onshore location in the U.S. Gulf capable of handling the world’s largest oil tankers.

Carlyle says the new terminal will serve as a reliable gateway for U.S. oil to reach to international markets, potentially resulting in a $50 billion annual reduction to the U.S. trade deficit.

As part of the Agreement, Carlyle agreed to lead the construction and ongoing operations of the terminal on an exclusive basis. Carlyle will also arrange for a private funding solution for a dredging project to bring fully-laden VLCCs to Harbor Island (at least a 75-foot main channel depth).

With operations expected to comment in late 2020, the terminal will include the development of at least two loading docks on Harbor Island, as well as crude oil tank storage inland across Redfish Bay on land.

“A project of this magnitude further underscores the vital role the Port of Corpus Christi plays in the global energy markets and as an important economic generator for the great state of Texas,” said Sean Strawbridge, the Chief Executive Officer of Port of Corpus Christi. “In partnering with such an experienced and well-capitalized firm as The Carlyle Group, the market should take notice and have a high degree of confidence of this project’s success.”

“Corpus Christi is certainly where the incremental barrels want to go as we have deep water, availability of land for development and plenty of capacity to absorb the forecasted U.S. energy production growth in oil and gas. Corpus Christi is open for business,” said Charlie Zahn, the Chairman of the Port of Corpus Christi Commission.

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