January 04, 2021 [Maritime Executive] – Pipeline and terminal operator Buckeye Partners announced Wednesday that it has begun crude oil exports at the second dock at its South Texas Gateway (STG), a new terminal about 10 nm inland from the mouth of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. Buckeye also said that it has loaded the first VLCC tanker to berth at the terminal.
The dock allows Buckeye to handle the berthing and loading of two vessels at the same time, speeding up exports of North American crude oil to global markets. STG’s marine facilities are now completed and running, and the final construction phase of its storage facilities will be finished early this year.
“We are very excited to have achieved these important milestones at our new facility, enhancing STG’s and Buckeye’s ability to serve global energy markets,” said Buckeye Partners President and CEO, Clark C. Smith. “STG’s new terminal, alongside our nearby Buckeye Texas Partners facility, will be instrumental in providing our customers with cutting-edge logistics solutions and in reinforcing the role of the Port of Corpus Christi as a top export location for U.S. energy producers.”
“The completion of the second dock and loading of its first VLCC cargo at the STG Terminal are significant milestones for Buckeye and the Port of Corpus Christi,” said Sean Strawbridge, Chief Executive Officer for the Port of Corpus Christi. “As Texas moves into the next phase of economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, partnerships like those between the Port of Corpus Christi and its customers such as STG are critical to the continuance of American leadership in the global energy marketplace.”
STG can berth VLCCs in ballast and begin loading them, but the Corpus Christi Ship Channel is not deep enough for a fully-laden VLCC to depart. At present, charterers typically use smaller tankers to complete filling for VLCCs at an anchorage off the coast.
That may soon change: the Port of Corpus Christi recently authorized a lease agreement and pipeline easement for the Bluewater Texas Terminals (BWTX) deepwater loading terminal, a proposed single-point mooring (SPM) facility about 21 nm offshore. The site has enough water depth to fully load a VLCC.
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