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“We forecast that Corpus Christi will emerge as the top crude exporting hub in the US” (Wood Mackenzie)

Sean Strawbridge, Port of Corpus Christi president and CEO

PortandTerminal.com, June 11, 2019

Port Corpus Christi has started a massive dredging project to make its channels deeper and wider. The result? Bigger tankers will call the port, and U.S. oil exports now have room to grow

Corpus Christi, TX – Port Corpus Christi has been moving from strength to strength over the past several years. The port went from shipping zero crude in 2015 to exporting $10.8B worth of crude oil to its U.S. trading partners around the world just three years later.

The most recent news is that Corpus Christi is now poised to eclipse the Port of Houston as the top U.S. crude oil export hub over the next 10 years, according to a new report from the global energy research firm Wood Mackenzie.

Prior to December 2015, crude exports from the US were legally restricted for nearly 40 years. Since the ban was lifted, Gulf Coast ports and their terminal-operating tenants have raced to provide throughput to crude producers across the Lower 48 states of the United States.

Sean Strawbridge, Port of Corpus Christi president and CEO

“We share the view from Wood Mackenzie that Corpus Christi is evolving into the preferred outlet for US crude exports”

Sean Strawbridge, Port of Corpus Christi CEO

Since oil shipments abroad began to take off in early 2016, the largest restraint on continued growth has been a lack of infrastructure and terminal capacity. Gulf Coast hubs for export did develop in Houston, Corpus Christi, Beaumont and along the Mississippi River in Louisiana, but most terminals were limited in size. 

What’s changed?

Wood Mackenzie believes that three things will push the Port of Corpus Christi into the top ranking spot for American oil exports.

a) Port Corpus Christi is expanding its channels to allow bigger ships

At the end of May, a $360 million project to widen and deepen the Port of Corpus Christi began. Port officials say the project is 20 years in the making.

By 2022, the Corpus Christi Ship Channel will be deepened to 54 feet from 47, and widened to 530 feet from 400. The expansion will pave the way for two-way traffic of supertankers in the ship channel, allowing for larger export volumes.

b) Permian pipeline buildout will benefit Corpus Christi

Emerging Permian pipeline projects will vault Corpus Christi into a leadership role amongst the Gulf Coast export hubs. At peak production, Wood Mackenzie forecasts that the Corpus Christi area will account for 56% of total US crude shipments abroad.

c) Corpus Christi will house two of three new build VLCC terminals

About half a dozen companies have proposed building new export facilities that are capable of fully loading a VLCC. Speculation around which projects will cross the finish line persists. Once the dust settles, Mackenzie’s base case foresees three of those fully-capable terminals will be constructed.

Two of the three winning facilities are in the Corpus Christi area, solidifying Wood Mackenzie’s view that the region will emerge as the top crude export hub in the next decade.

Wood Mackenzie

Wood Mackenzie, also known as WoodMac, is a global energy, chemicals, renewables, metals and mining research and consultancy group with an international reputation for supplying comprehensive data, written analysis and consultancy advice. Click here to visit their website.

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