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Trafigura's Corpus Christi, Texas, VLCC terminal can handle 500,000 b/d of crude loading

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Trafigura's Corpus Christi, Texas, VLCC terminal can handle 500,000 b/d of crude loading

Houston — Trafigura's single-point mooring buoy, an integral part of its planned Texas Gulf Terminals VLCC loading facility off the port of Corpus Christi, will have the capacity to handle an average 500,000 b/d of crude, spokeswoman Victoria Dix said Tuesday.

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SPM will transfer crude from an onshore facility to the loading terminal, for which the company filed early July an application with the US Department of Transportation, Dix said in an email.

Besides the SPM and VLCC loading terminal, Trafigura will also build a new onshore terminal which will be fed via pipeline or pipelines, she said.

"This project will be in the Corpus vicinity," Dix said. "It'll be a significant investment and will be funded by Trafigura."

The project will consist of three distinct components: a deep water port with a SPM buoy served by two parallel, 30-inch-diameter crude pipelines, a onshore pipeline and crude storage facilities, the company said in its application.

The SPM buoy will be located in water depths of 93 feet and Trafigura targets to load eight VLCC's each month, it said in the application.

Loading of a VLCC will take 48 hours, including vessel approach, crude transfer and vessel departure, Trafigura said.

The Texas Gulf Terminals project is part of Trafigura's efforts to provide a more economical and efficient way of exporting crude from the US Gulf Coast, the company said.

However, the planned infrastructure is part of several other such offshore facilities planned to be built both in Texas and Louisiana.

Energy supply, storage and logistics company Oiltanking is leading an offshore VLCC loading project, sources familiar with the project have said. The project is reported to include a 42-inch pipeline that will carry crude 32 miles offshore Texas, where a VLCC will be loaded in deeper water. However, there is no official word on the project and the company has declined to comment.

Last month, Enterprise Product said it too was pursuing plans to build a VLCC loading terminal off the Houston Ship Channel.

Also, the Port of Corpus Christi is carrying out a feasibility study to build a facility to load VLCCs at Harbor Island some 32 miles offshore from the port.

To the south of the Corpus Christi port, Jupiter Midstream said it was planning to build a deep water port at Brownsville at water depths of 100 feet to also load VLCCs.

Trafiguara's Dix didn't indicate a timeline to build the Texas Gulf Terminals project, stating "we have just begun the permitting process."

With the number of offshore VLCC loading projects multiplying by the week, it is unlikely that all will be completed.

One Gulf Coast crude source said he expects that only one will likely come to fruition.

--Ashok Dutta,

--Laura Huchzermeyer,

--Edited by Richard Rubin,