Port of Corpus Christi Clashing with Private Crude Oil Export Terminal

By Rye Druzin, San Antonio Express-News and Houston Chronicle

Commentary by Chris Hedge, Director in the Process and Technology practice of Opportune LLP

The Port of Corpus Christi, facing the potential loss of millions of dollars in revenues, is opposing a plan by a multinational commodities trader to build an offshore crude oil export terminal off the coast of Padre Island.

The proposal, by the Swiss company Trafigura, would potentially compete with the port’s own plans to expand its capacity to ship crude oil from West and South Texas to overseas markets. The Port of Corpus Christi has proposed spending hundreds of millions of dollars to dredge its ship channel and build storage and loading facilities on Harbor Island, near Port Aransas, to accommodate some of the worlds largest oil tankers, called Very Large Crude Carriers or VLCCs, which can carry 2 million barrels of crude.

In two letters filed with the U.S. Maritime Administration and Coast Guard, the port claimed the application to build the offshore terminal, made through Trafigura’s subsidiary Texas Gulf Terminals, contains incomplete information, including omitting Trafigura’s 2006 criminal conviction in connection with violating restrictions put on the sale of Iraqi oil following the first Gulf War in 1991.

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