Affiliates of Enterprise Products Partners LP and Enbridge Inc. said Monday they have a letter of intent to jointly develop a deepwater oil terminal in the Gulf of Mexico capable of fully loading very large crude carriers (VLCC).

Commercial development efforts are to be focused on Enterprise’s deepwater Sea Port Oil Terminal (SPOT). Enterprise and Enbridge plan to negotiate an equity participation right agreement, which subject to SPOT receiving a deepwater port license, an Enbridge affiliate could acquire an ownership interest in SPOT Terminal Services LLC.

“We value Enbridge’s expertise and resources as we focus our collective commercial development efforts on making the SPOT project a reality,” said Enterprise’s A. J. “Jim” Teague, CEO of the general partner.

The SPOT project consists of onshore and offshore facilities, including a fixed platform about 30 nautical miles offshore Brazoria County, which is east of Houston, in 115 feet of water. The project is designed to load VLCCs at rates of 85,000-2 million b/d.

Unlike existing and other proposed offshore terminals, is designed with a vapor control system to minimize emissions. Construction is subject to obtaining the required approvals and licenses from the U.S. Maritime Administration, which is reviewing the SPOT application.

Enterprise last summer launched a big expansion of its oil export facilities on the Texas coast, which it is linking to continued Permian Basin growth.

Enterprise, which already controls an extensive system of oil and natural gas liquids export facilities and docks on the Houston Ship Channel (HSC), has expansion projects underway to increase capacity to load liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), polymer grade propylene and crude from the Enterprise Hydrocarbon Terminal (EHT).

Enterprise already has nameplate LPG loading capacity of 660,000 b/d from EHT, and it has a project underway to add 175,000 b/d of LPG loading capacity. In addition, the partnership is building an eighth dock at its HSC terminal with the capability to load 840,000 b/d of oil, increasing nameplate export capacity at the terminal to 2.75 million b/d, or nearly 83 million b/month.

Expected to begin service in late 2020, the new dock would be able to accommodate a Suezmax vessel, the largest ship class that can navigate the HSC. The announced project follows initial plans issued last year to build a terminal able to accommodate VLCCs.

Enterprise has estimated that by 2025, U.S. crude exports would increase to 8 million b/d from 3 million b/d. It also expects the domestic LPG export market to double to 2.8 million b/d from 1.4 million b/d.