There’s one less player in the US Gulf Coast competition to build VLCC-capable oil export terminals as Enbridge has withdrawn its application to build the Texas COLT port, which was to be off the coast of Freeport. 

Instead, the company is now seeking customers to fully subscribe export capacity for Enterprise’s proposed sea port oil terminal (SPOT) off the coast of Houston, according to spokesman Michael Barnes. But he did add that Enbridge “will consider re-filing the application in the future should market demand for additional export capacity grow.”

Plans to jointly develop SPOT were announced by Enbridge and Enterprise in early December, but Enbridge had not announced its plan to withdraw the Texas COLT application at that time. 

Elsewhere, Enbridge is also planning to build a new 15-million-barrel storage terminal at Jones Creek, where Seaway ends, providing access to Houston-area refineries and existing and future export facilities.

Back in July, long-term agreements, including unspecified storage and transport at Enterprise’s 8.3 million-barrel ECHO terminal in Houston, were made with Chevron. Following on from this, Enterprise made a final investment decision on the SPOT single-point mooring buoy system off Brazoria County project in the same month.  

The port will have access to over 6 million b/d of crude supply and more than 300 million barrels of storage, of which nearly 50 million is owned by Enterprise, the company has said. 

It will be able to fully load two VLCCs at a time at an overall rate of 2 million b/d, according to Enterprise’s application to the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration.

This is of particular significance as currently only one Gulf of Mexico port, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, can fully load VLCCs without lightering from smaller vessels.

Originally, nine VLCC-capable projects wanted to move the next wave of US crude exports with deepwater ports off Houston, Corpus Christi and southeast Louisiana, but this has now narrowed to six or seven.

Enterprise has said it expects to receive a federal permit for SPOT in the second quarter of 2020, and that construction will take up to two years. 

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15th January 2020