Port of Corpus Christi Green-Lights Offshore Oil Terminal Lease

Illustration courtesy Bluewater Texas

Published Dec 17, 2020 6:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Port of Corpus Christi Authority's commission has approved a lease agreement and pipeline easement for the Bluewater Texas Terminals (BWTX) offshore deepwater loading terminal, a 50/50 joint venture between Phillips 66 and Trafigura. The project will help boost exports of American crude oil to the global market. 

The proposal consists of two single point mooring (SPM) buoys located about 21 nautical miles from the entrance to the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. The terminal site has enough water depth to fully load very large crude carriers (VLCCs), putting it in a unique category with the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), an SPM terminal that is currently the only U.S. facility with this capability. With two SPM buoys, BWTX would have a loading rate of up to 80,000 barrels per hour - enough for a throughput of about 16 VLCCs per month. Crude oil from Texas' Permian and Eagle Ford basins will feed the terminal via pipelines connected to a multi-use crude oil storage terminal near Taft, Texas.

The port lease lays out the terms for BWTX to access existing pipeline corridors and Port Authority property for the project. BWTX will also lease 12 acres for an operations facility on Harbor Island.

“Port Commission’s approval of this agreement with Bluewater Texas Terminals caps yet another major inflection point in the evolution of American energy exports, not only for the Port of Corpus Christi, but for the nation,” said Sean Strawbridge, CEO for the Port of Corpus Christi. “Blue Water Texas Terminals will likely be the only offshore loading facility in Texas and certainly solidifies the Port of Corpus Christi’s position as the leading energy export gateway in the United States."

BWTX is currently in the permitting stage, and it is subject to a final investment decision by its backers.