October 29, 2018 3:00 PM, EDT

Port of Corpus Christi, Carlyle Group to Partner on Texas Terminal

Port of Corpus Christi Jon Martindale/Flickr

The Port of Corpus Christi and investment firm The Carlyle Group will team to develop an inland crude oil export terminal for some of the world’s largest oil tankers.

The project on Harbor Island, 2 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, would allow Texas’ booming oil production to be exported around the world on some of the largest crude oil tankers.

The terminal will include two loading docks and allow very large crude carriers, or VLCCs, to dock. The tankers are preferred by exporters because of their ability to export 2 million barrels of oil per ship.

A separate storage area would be located across Redfish Bay, which lies to the west of Harbor Island. The cost of the Harbor Island project could be upward of $1 billion, according to port CEO Sean Strawbridge. It is expected to be operational in late 2020.

Tulle Lift Bridge


Tulle lift bridge, Corpus Christi, Texas. (Jay Phagan/Flickr)

Analysts have said the majority of new U.S. crude oil production will be exported as American refineries are unable to process much more of the light, sweet crude produced in areas such as the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale.

The Carlyle Group, a Washington global asset manager, and the Port of Corpus Christi will pay for construction of the terminal. The Carlyle Group will secure private funding for dredging along a portion of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel to Harbor Island down to 75 feet, the depth required to allow fully laden VLCCs to leave the Corpus Christi Ship Channel.

VLCCs can only partially load inside the ship channel before moving offshore to be fully filled, or lightered, by smaller tankers.

Port Aransas Conservancy, an opposition group, formed soon after plans for Harbor Island were revealed in the middle of the year. The conservancy has been concerned about potential environmental impacts and that the project could damage tourism for Port Aransas, a small town that sits across the Corpus Christi Ship Channel from Harbor Island and relies heavily on visitors for its economy.

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