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Phillips 66's oil port off Corpus Christi aims to load 16 VLCCs a month

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Phillips 66's oil port off Corpus Christi aims to load 16 VLCCs a month

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Competition heats up to move next wave of US exports

LOOP is currently only port able to fully load VLCCs

Platts Analytics sees 2020 exports of up to 4.5 million b/d

Washington — Phillips 66's proposed deepwater oil export terminal off Corpus Christi, Texas, expects to load up to 16 VLCCs a month, joining an already competitive market to move the next wave of US crude exports, according to its application the US Maritime Administration made public Monday.

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The project, called Bluewater Texas Terminals, would have two single-point-mooring buoys able to handle two VLCCs at a time. Crude exports could flow onto the supertankers at a rate of 80,000 b/hour, or up to 1.9 million b/d, during a single-vessel loading.

US crude exports hit an all-time high of 3.8 million b/d in the week ended June 21, according to US Energy Information Administration data.

S&P Global Platts Analytics projects US crude exports will average 4 million-4.5 million b/d in 2020.

Phillips 66 spokesman Dennis Nuss said the company did not plan to share any additional information about Bluewater "as this project is not yet approved."

It is the third proposal for a VLCC-capable crude export terminal off Corpus Christi, after proposals by Trafigura-backed Texas Gulf Terminals, and a joint venture of the Port of Corpus Christi and The Carlyle Group.

Magellan Midstream Partners has also expressed interest in an export terminal off Corpus Christi, but has yet to announce any firm plans.

Nine deepwater oil ports have been proposed or considered across the Gulf Coast, including several off greater Houston, one off Brownsville, Texas, and one off southeastern Louisiana. Four of those have sought federal approval, a process expected to take at least a year.

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port is currently the only US port able to fully load VLCCs and ultra large crude carriers without lightering from smaller vessels. LOOP started exporting US crude through VLCC in February 2018, almost 40 years after it opened as the only deepwater terminal for US oil imports.

While LOOP typically loads about one VLCC cargo a month for export, it turned around two cargoes in the same week in early June -- the New Prime, bound for India, and the Captain X Kyriakou, bound for South Korea.

Oil trader Trafigura said earlier this year that its Texas Gulf Terminal proposal would "complement, not replace, exports from other facilities," when asked if Corpus Christi could support more than one deepwater oil port.

"Having multiple projects reflects and reinforces the need for the significant infrastructure that will be needed to allow the export of US crude oil," spokeswoman Victoria Dix said.

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

-- Edited by Valarie Jackson, newsdesk@spglobal.com

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