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Enbridge sees fierce competition for building US Gulf Coast VLCC export terminals

Washington — With developers of about 10 projects racing to build deepwater crude export terminals off Texas and Louisiana, Enbridge only sees enough demand for one of them in the late 2021-early 2022 timeframe, the company said in its fourth-quarter 2018 earnings call.

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Enbridge, Kinder Morgan and Oiltanking have proposed the Texas Colt Offshore Loading Terminal offshore Freeport, Texas. It would be capable of loading VLCCs directly, something only the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port can currently do.

The joint venture filed an application with the US Maritime Administration in January, a process that will take about a year to complete.

"We got that in because we want to try and preserve the in-service date targets that we have out there of late 2021, early 2022," said Guy Jarvis, president of liquids pipelines.

"We do know it is a competitive environment," Jarvis added. "We're continuing to compete. We've got a line of sight to some pretty significant customers, and we're doing our darndest to get that project to the point where it's a secured investment."

The US exported 2.36 million b/d of crude in the week that ended February 8, according to Energy Information Administration data. Texas and Louisiana accounted for between 80% and 94% of all US crude exports in 2018, depending on the month, according to US Census Bureau data.

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The EIA expects US crude exports to continue to climb as new midstream and export infrastructure connects surging onshore production to overseas markets.

Enbridge CEO Al Monaco said the company is seeking to get more infrastructure positioned for oil and natural gas export markets as a strategic priority. He pointed to an expansion of the 850,000 b/d Seaway Pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma, to Freeport, and buying a 22.75% stake in the 900,000 b/d Gray Oak Pipeline, which runs from the Permian Basin to Corpus Christi and Houston in Texas, as examples of this.

"We're really starting to build a meaningful position all the way through to the Gulf," Monaco said. "So it will be a big area of focus for us."

-- Meghan Gordon, meghan.gordon@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, newsdesk@spglobal.com