Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE: EPD) is planning to develop an offshore crude oil export terminal off the Texas Gulf Coast capable of fully loading Very Large Crude Carriers.
The company says its goal is to provide the most efficient and cost-effective solution to export American crude oil to the largest international markets in Asia and Europe.
Enterprise has already started front-end engineering and design and preparing applications for regulatory permitting for the project.
Based on initial designs, the project could include approximately 80 miles of 42-inch diameter pipeline to an offshore terminal capable of loading and exporting crude oil at approximately 85,000 barrels per hour.
On Tuesday, Enterprise was completing the second partial loading of a VLCC tanker at its jointly owned Seaway marine terminal in Texas City. The Eagle Victoria is loading approximately 1.1 million barrels of crude oil at the Texas City facility.
“On the heels of our second successful loading of a VLCC at the Texas City terminal, we are now planning to expand our capabilities to load crude oil faster and more cost efficiently without the need for lightering vessels,” said A.J. “Jim” Teague, chief executive officer of Enterprise’s general partner.
Due to port infrastructure restrictions, the only U.S. port capable of fully loading 2-million-barrel-capacity VLCC’s is the Lousiana Offshore Oil Port, located in deep water approximately 18 miles off the coast of Port Fourchon. The LOOP, as it is commonly, has been used for oil imports for decades, but only this year started loading VLCCs for export on a trial basis.
“Given the long-term outlook for growing supplies of U.S. crude oil production, increasing global demand requiring supertankers, and the future limitations of Gulf Coast port and lightering capacities, we are confident this project will be embraced and supported by both domestic and international customers. In addition to our best in class reliability, Enterprise’s crude oil supply aggregation capabilities of over 4 million barrels per day, including from the Permian, Cushing, Eagle Ford and numerous third party connections, provide unmatched diversification, supply and quality optionality for international markets,” added Teague
Enterprise says capital and infrastructure to support the project will be solely provided by private capital without the need for state or federal government financial support or infrastructure development. “We believe this would enable us to deliver this project in a timely manner once permits are granted and the project is underwritten,” stated Teague.
A final investment decision will be subject to receiving the requisite state and federal permits and customer demand.