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Sentinel Sees Gulf Coast Deepwater Port Approval Coming Next Year

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March 15, 2023

The 1 million-barrel-per-day GulfLink project is one of three proposed deepwater oil export terminals along the Gulf Coast with pending applications with the U.S. Maritime Administration’s Deepwater Port Licensing Program. All three will be capable of handling Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs).

By Sheela Tobben (Bloomberg) —

With US crude increasingly leaving American shores on oversized supertankers, private equity backed Sentinel Midstream LLC is looking to get in on the action, bringing its new deep-water port online in 2026.

The closely held company’s proposed Texas oil dock that will cater to the world’s largest vessels is expecting to receive all permits by next year’s first quarter, with construction to follow, said Sentinel’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Ballard. Dubbed Texas GulfLink, the port aims to load up to 1 million barrels of oil per day, helping to usher in the massive growth in US crude exports expected by the end of the decade.  

Crude shipments from the US Gulf, the nation’s main export hub, will expand by roughly 2 million barrels a day to about 5.5 million by 2030, Ballard said in an interview. The so-called very large crude carriers, or VLCCs, that will use the dock can haul 2 million barrels of oil. 

Historically, the US has used VLCCs only for longer routes, like between the Gulf Coast and Asia, with shipments to Europe moving on smaller ships carrying up to 1 million barrels. However, the large vessels are increasingly popular on even shorter routes, especially as Russia’s war disrupts energy flows and forces buyers to seek out alternative suppliers.

The project by Cresta Fund Management-backed Sentinel is one of four proposed ports looking to cash in on a growing and lucrative export market for US crude.

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.


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