Enterprise Wins Approval to Build Texas Oil Port as Exports Soar

Enterprise Wins Approval to Build Texas Oil Port as Exports Soar

(Bloomberg) — Enterprise Products Partners overcame the last regulatory hurdle to build a proposed deepwater oil port off the coast of Texas aimed at helping record oil exports to flow to markets in Asia and Europe.

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The United States Maritime Administration issued a license for the Sea Port Oil Terminal, which will allow Enterprise to move forward with construction of the terminal, the Houston-based company said in a statement Tuesday. The SPOT terminal will be only the fourth in the US to load supertankers, the ships that make long-haul voyages to clients in Asia more economical.

“Receipt of the deepwater port license from MARAD is obviously a very important milestone,” spokesperson Rick Rainey said in a separate statement. “However we are still in the process of commercializing the project and won’t have an estimate on the timing for construction until we make a final investment decision regarding the development of SPOT.”

US daily oil exports more than doubled in the past five years to about 4 million barrels, well below capacity of 7.1 million barrels. Most of the existing terminals are able to handle only small ships, while SPOT will be able to handle supertankers, putting smaller terminals in a bind once it starts service.

The terminal, which was initially proposed in 2019, faced several delays along the way, including opposition from environmental groups and a pandemic. Located 30 nautical miles off the coast of Brazoria County, Texas, the planned port would have the capacity to handle 2 million barrels of oil exports a day, 24 hours per day. Bidirectional pipelines would connect to a new terminal, to be built 10 miles inland. The Oyster Creek terminal would be connected to Enterprise’s Houston ECHO terminal.

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