Trafigura Joins Forces with Phillips 66 for Offshore Loading Terminal

Single point mooring buoy facility (file image)

Published Feb 28, 2020 11:21 PM by The Maritime Executive

Swiss commodity trading house Trafigura announced Friday that it is dropping its Texas Gulf Terminals deepwater port project and joining a competing venture, Phillips 66's Bluewater Texas Terminal. The consolidated proposal calls for a deepwater, VLCC-capable loading terminal about 20 nautical miles off Port Aransas.

The proposed project will be built by Phillips 66, and it will consist of one or two single point mooring buoys with enough water depth to fully load VLCCs for export. It would have capacity to handle two million barrels a day, about half the output of the prolific Permian Basin region and enough to load an average of one ship daily. The project is currently in the permitting stage, and the joint venture owners expect to make a final investment decision later this year, subject to permit approval and customer volume commitments.

Trafigura has also withdrawn its permitting application to develop the competing Texas Gulf Terminals deepwater port facility.

Trafigura is a leading exporter and marketer of crude oil in the United States, and Phillips 66 has commercial expertise and an existing infrastructure network on the U.S. Gulf Coast. It also has the required technical experience, having safely operating a single point mooring buoy facility in the UK since 1971. 

Unlike Trafigura's previous venture, the Bluewater Texas JV is working with the Port of Corpus Christi Authority for development. It would provide an alternative for loading the largest tankers to capacity without requiring them to transit the Corpus Christi ship channel, which needs to be dredged to accommodate deep-draft VLCCs in laden condition. The Port of Corpus Christi has another proposal in motion in conjunction with the Carlyle Group to build an oil terminal at Harbor Island, just inside the entrance channel at Port Aransas.