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Stock photo shows an oil tanker at a terminal

The Sea Port Oil Terminal has a proposed capacity of 2 million barrels per day, Stock Photo: tcly / Shutterstock

Enterprise Product Partners Issued MARAD Port License for Largest Offshore Oil Export Terminal in U.S.

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1090
April 9, 2024

Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners L.P. has made significant progress in developing the nation’s largest offshore oil export terminal, the Sea Port Oil Terminal (SPOT), having received a deepwater port license from the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD).

The license allows Enterprise to continue the development of SPOT, which is projected to load 2 million barrels of crude oil per day once operational, making it the U.S.’s largest offshore oil export terminal.

“With U.S. exports of crude oil at 4 million BPD, SPOT offers a more environmentally friendly, safe, efficient and cost-effective way to deliver crude oil to global markets. The receipt of the license is the most significant milestone to date in the development and commercialization of SPOT,” said A.J. “Jim” Teague, co-chief executive officer of Enterprise’s general partner.

The licensing process involved extensive collaboration with federal, state, and local authorities, multiple public meetings, and environmental impact studies. The project yielded over 30,000 pages of documentation.

The SPOT offshore platform, planned to be situated about 30 nautical miles off the Brazoria County, Texas coast, will operate 24/7. It will feature two Single Point Mooring (SPM) buoys capable of loading two supertankers simultaneously at a rate of 85,000 barrels per hour.

The platform will offer access to over 40 distinct grades of crude oil, including Midland WTI, and significantly reduce emissions compared to current industry practices. Teague estimates that SPOT could reduce crude vapor emissions by 95 percent and lower total greenhouse gases by 65 percent.

After facing lawsuits from environmental groups earlier this year, a U.S. appeals court upheld the approval of the facility, stating that the proposed Enterprise Products Partners facility had met environmental review criteria.

The four-year environmental review of the project led by MARAD and the U.S. Coast Guard involved several federal governmental agencies and received approvals from the State of Texas. MARAD’s record of decision deemed that the project is considered nationally significant due to its potential benefits to employment, economic growth, and U.S. energy infrastructure resilience and security. The port will also minimize the environmental impact compared to others means of exporting U.S. crude.

“Construction and operation of an offshore export terminal and the installation of a vapor combustion system at the [deepwater port] will reduce the number of ship-to-ship transfers of crude oil and lessen emissions from conventional crude oil loading, thus providing a more efficient, less impactful crude oil transport facility within the offshore waters of the United States,” it stated.

The port will also utilize the best available technology, incorporating features such as autonomous shutdown valves, HIPPs, fire and gas detection, emergency shutdown and safety controls, and process control systems to ensure operational safety.

Enterprise Products Partners said last year it is eyeing a 2027 start date for the terminal.

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