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Canadian Midstream Company Enbridge Buys Giant Gulf Coast Oil Terminal

corpus christi
The VLCC Anne makes a dry test run to the terminal at Ingleside, demonstrating the potential to berth supertankers at the facility, 2017 (Port of Corpus Christi)

Published Sep 8, 2021 10:30 PM by The Maritime Executive

Canadian pipeline operator Enbridge has purchased the Ingleside Energy Center terminal at the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas in a $3 billion cash deal with Moda Midstream.

The recently-built terminal is located in Ingleside, about 10 miles from the harbor entrance, and it has the rare capability to berth VLCCs. It has about 16 million barrels of storage capacity, 1.5 million barrels a day of loading capacity, and direct pipeline connections to Texas' productive Permian and Eagle Ford oil shale basins. The facility is among the largest of its kind in North America, and it loaded 25 percent of all U.S. Gulf Coast crude exports in 2020, according to Enbridge and Moda.

As part of the deal, Enbridge is also buying a 20 percent interest in the 670,000 bpd Cactus II Pipeline, along with the 300,000 bpd Viola pipeline and the 350,000 barrel Taft Terminal. 

"Over the last several years we've been building a strong position in the U.S. Gulf Coast through both natural gas and crude infrastructure. Our strategy is driven by the important role that low cost, sustainable North America energy supply will play in meeting growing global demand. With close proximity to world-class Permian reserves, and with cost effective and efficient export infrastructure, our new Enbridge Ingleside terminal will be critical to capitalizing on North America's energy advantage," said Enbridge president and CEO Al Monaco in a statement.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in the process of dredging the channel to the Ingleside terminal to 54 feet of depth. While this is about 12 feet too shallow to accommodate a fully laden VLCC, partial loading is possible, followed by topping-up offshore via STS transfer from a smaller tanker. 

Enbridge has been looking for a deepwater loading terminal in the Corpus Christi area for several years. Together with Kinder Morgan, it proposed to build a VLCC-capable crude terminal off the coast of Freeport, to be called Texas Colt. It withdrew that proposal in early 2020 and switched its focus to a joint venture with Enterprise Product Partners, Sea Port Offshore Terminal (SPOT), which would also be located off Freeport. The SPOT project ran into local opposition, and in mid-2020, the U.S. Coast Guard and MARAD suspended their environmental impact statement permitting review for the facility, citing the "need for additional information from the applicant."