The Port of Corpus Christi in South Texas, one of the nation’s top oil and natural gas exporters, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Europe’s largest port in the Netherlands to advance global maritime operations. 

LNG export volumes

Co-developing trade and commercial opportunities, exchanging information and advancing the development and deployment of technologies related to navigational safety and environmental protection are some shared objectives outlined in the MOU between Corpus and the Port of Rotterdam.

Corpus is one of the largest oil export gateways in the country. Last year it set an annual tonnage record for the fourth year in a row, moving 144.9 million metric tons (mmt) of cargo. The record-breaking movement was primarily attributed to a 65% increase in oil shipments. Oil shipments from Corpus increased to 87.5 mmt in 2020. 

The Corpus port also saw a 26% increase year/year in liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments, which rose to 7.9 mmt. Cheniere Energy Inc., which sponsors the only Corpus LNG export facility, recently brought its third cargo train online. 

Corpus LNG sanctioned the third train in 2018, the same year the terminal produced its first LNG. The third train in Corpus has a capacity of 4.5 mmty, bringing total LNG cargo capacity to 15 mmty. 

“The Port of Corpus Christi is a leading global energy hub,” said Port of Rotterdam director René der Plas. “We share the ambition to be a global leader in applying pioneering innovations and in offering logistical efficiencies and we face the same sustainability challenges. It’s great to start this partnership to explore opportunities that will bring value to our shared customer base.”

Corpus Port CEO Sean Strawbridge noted that Rotterdam’s port “is recognized globally for its high quality infrastructure, connectivity, and economic development.” 

The alliance and discourse between port officials will “enhance the headway we have made toward safe and sustainable industrial facilitation of navigable commerce” Strawbridge said. The partnership also could bring added benefits to South Texas customers and communities. 

In 2020, the Rotterdam port moved 436.8 mmt of cargo through its 26 mile-long waterway. Each year, about 30,000 ocean-going vessels and 100,000 inland vessels call on the port, it noted.

An LNG terminal on the Maasvlakte, a man-made westward extension of the Rotterdam port, currently has three storage tanks, each with a capacity of 180,000 cubic meters. The LNG terminal is a joint venture between NV Nederlandse Gasunie and Royal Vopak NV.

Additionally, German utility Uniper SE is studying the feasibility of a large-scale green hydrogen production plant in the Netherlands.

As the largest port in Europe, Rotterdam represents 6.2% of the Netherlands gross national product, including its direct and indirect employment.