December 16, 2019 [Chron] – Houston pipeline operator Enterprise Products Partners and Canadian pipeline operator Enbridge have signed an agreement to develop an offshore crude oil export terminal in the Gulf of Mexico about 30 miles south of Brazoria County.
The companies agreed to jointly develop Enterprise’s proposed Sea Port Oil Terminal, an offshore export terminal that will be able to accommodate supertankers known as Very Large Crude Carriers, or VLCCs, capable of hauling 2 million barrels of crude oil in a single shipment.
If the proposed project is approved by federal regulators, Enbridge will be able to buy an ownership stake in the project.
“We are very pleased to work with Enbridge to jointly develop a deepwater port in the Gulf of Mexico to support growing exports of U.S. crude oil,” Enterprise CEO Jim Teague said in a statement. “We value Enbridge’s expertise and resources as we focus our collective commercial development efforts on making the SPOT project a reality.”
In a statement, Enbridge reported that the company still plans to develop a second deepwater port known as Texas COLT about 50 miles west of Enterprise’s SPOT export terminal.
The announcement with Enterprise comes at a time when Enbridge is expanding its Seaway Pipeline, which moves crude oil from storage terminals in Cushing, Okla., to Brazoria County. Enbridge also announced that it is moving forward with plans to develop its proposed Jones Creek Crude Oil Storage Terminal. Located off State Highway 36 near the Village of Jones Creek, the terminal will be able to hold 15 million barrels of crude oil.
“We are pleased to be teaming up with Enterprise to bring large scale, integrated export solutions to the market,” Enbridge CEO Al Monaco said in a statement. “This collaboration leverages our jointly owned and highly competitive Seaway system and capitalizes on each of our capabilities to drive out highly capital efficient export infrastructure for our customers. For Enbridge, it’s also a key part of our priority to provide our North American light and heavy crude customers with highly efficient access to the Houston-area refining markets and growing global demand.”
Enterprise and Enbridge are among eight companies seeking to build VLCC-capable offshore crude oil export terminals in the Gulf of Mexico. The projects must be approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, or MARAD.
While those projects remain under review, a joint venture between Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum, San Antonio-based Valero and the Dutch oil major Royal Dutch Shell known as the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, or LOOP, started export operations in February 2018.
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