U.S. Energy CEOs Urge Trump to Fund Port of Corpus Christi Dredging

The Theo T departs the port of Corpus Christi with the first export cargo of US crude oil since the United States government repealed a 40 year ban on the export of crude oil in December 2015.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 

CEOs of six well-known American energy companies signed a letter addressed to President Donald Trump on Wednesday in support of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project (CIP).

The CC Ship Channel Improvement Project will widen the Corpus Christi Ship Channel to 530 feet, plus add additional barge shelves, to allow for two way vessel and barge traffic. It will also deepen the channel to 54 feet, which will allow for the safe and efficient passage of deep draft vessels, including Very Large Crude Carriers.

The Port of Corpus Christi and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed a Project Partnership Agreement for the project last October, but as of now the project still lacks the required funding needed to get off the ground.

The letter requests funding for the United States Army Corps of Engineers to deepen and widen the Corpus Christi Ship Channel in an effort to meet surging global demand for U.S. produced oil and natural gas.

Since the U.S. lifted the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports in late 2015, the Port of Corpus Christi has emerged as the largest export port of U.S. produced crude oil, and it is a major export hub for U.S. energy products. According to Energy Analysts International, the Port of Corpus Christi exported more than $6 billion of crude oil to U.S. trading partners in 2017, contributing to offset the United States trade deficit.

CEOs from Occidental Petroleum Corporation, NuStar Energy L.P., Buckeye Partners, L.P., Howard Energy Partners, Plains All American Pipeline, and Cheniere Energy, Inc. specifically asked that the President include $60 million for this project in his Fiscal Year 2019 Presidential Budget to begin Federal participation in its construction.

”Funding the CIP is an opportunity to invest in a national transportation asset that would allow our U.S. companies and the port to significantly increase our export capacity and help solidify the U.S. as a world energy leader,” the CEOs stated in their letter to President Trump.

“With widespread bipartisan support, we are confident you will find this project the most worthy of funding of all U.S. coastal navigation construction projects in the Nation,” said Sean Strawbridge, Port Corpus Christi CEO in an attached letter to President Trump. “In support of this project are U.S. energy companies who themselves are investing billions in infrastructure from the rich producing energy fields of West Texas to Corpus Christi. As the gateway to the global markets, Port Corpus Christi must ensure the infrastructure it oversees, namely the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, is capable of transporting safely and competitively the anticipated increased export volumes of crude oil, natural gas, and other petroleum products. At the center of the emergence of the United States as a dominant player in the global energy market is the Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project.”