Citing weak global demand, Enbridge Inc. has dropped out of the race to build and operate a crude export terminal offshore the Upper Texas coast capable of handling supertankers but it may consider reapplying for permits if conditions improve.
The $800 million Texas Colt, which was to be offshore Freeport, was being developed with Oiltanking GmbH. Kinder Morgan Inc. sold its interest in the project last March after an internal review “determined that continuing with the project did not align with our strategic priorities,” spokesperson Lexey Long said.
Texas Colt was to be fed in part by the Phillips 66-led Gray Oak Pipeline, as well as the Seaway Crude Pipeline Co. LLC system, a 50-50 joint venture between Enbridge and operator Enterprise Products Partners LP.
“We are considering refiling our application for federal permits to build a crude export terminal off Freeport, TX, for Texas Colt if market demand for additional export capacity grows in the future,” Enbridge spokesperson Michael Barnes told NGI.
Enbridge continues to jointly develop another deepwater facility with Enterprise, the Sea Port Oil Terminal (SPOT), already backed by long-term agreements with Chevron Corp. when Enbridge partnered in the project. SPOT would be designed to load very large crude carriers (VLCC) at rates of around 85,000 bbl/hour or up to 2 million b/d.
Several competing oil export projects on the Gulf Coast also are on the drawing board. Dallas-based Sentinel Midstream joined the fray last February, along with Houston-based Axis Midstream Holdings LLC, for a proposed terminal near Corpus Christi in South Texas.
Last June, Phillips 66 threw its hat into the ring to develop a deepwater project able to accommodate VLCC. The Bluewater Texas Terminal LLC would be sited about 21 nautical miles east of the entrance to the Corpus port. Trafigura Group Pte Ltd. also has proposed building a deepwater port near Corpus capable of loading supertankers. The firm has applied for a permit through Trafigura US Inc. subsidiary Texas Gulf Terminals Inc.
The Corpus Christi Ship Channel now is being dredged to allow larger tankers to load at the planned terminals.
However, with global crude demand growing by only 1 million b/d and the market sitting comfortably with at least 3 million b/d of spare capacity, Enbridge is the latest to pull the plug on plans to export U.S. crude.
Carlyle Group in October indicated that it had dropped out of the $1 billion crude export terminal it was jointly developing with the Berry Group. Although he didn’t specifically mention the Lone Star Ports project by name, Co-CEO Kewsong Lee told analysts on a third quarter earnings call that “slowing global growth, high valuations and the uncertainties from trade tensions and geopolitics make investing more challenging now than ever before.”
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