A wave of pipeline and terminal projects coming on stream has led to a boom in Corpus Christi’s seaborne crude exports in recent months, with volumes reaching a record high of 1.5mn b/d in January, Vortexa data show. The commissioning of three new pipelines in H2 2019 — Cactus II, EPIC’s NGL conversion and Gray Oak — delivering crude from the Permian basin to Corpus Christi— boosted exports by almost three-fold in January vs last July, surpassing Houston as the largest crude exporting port in the US Gulf Coast.
Ingleside and Nustar terminals lead the way
Crude exports from Moda (ex Oxy) Ingleside and Nustar North Beach terminals - the two largest in Corpus Christi – rose to new highs of 660,000 b/d and 420,000 b/d respectively last month, Vortexa data show.
Notably, four direct (albeit partial) VLCC loadings took place onto tankers Eagle Verona, Ingrid, Jaladi and Nissos Despotiko. All four are enroute to Asia from Ingleside terminal. The terminal handled an average of 3 – 4 VLCCs each month in 2019, more than LOOP terminal which loaded 1-2 full VLCCs each month, over the same period.
Ingleside terminal loaded primarily West Texas Intermediate crudes, contrasting with Nustar terminal’s mix of around 60% Eagle Ford crude and condensate, with the remainder West Texas Intermediate.
New Epic and Eagle Ford terminals boost exports
Enterprise’s Eagle Ford and EPIC’s midstream (formerly the International Grain Port Terminal) combined, saw a breakthrough 150,000 b/d of crude loaded from the two terminals last month, a three-fold increase over monthly average volumes in 2019.
The Eagle Ford terminal currently supports Aframax and Suezmax loadings, with expansion plans to handle VLCC loadings underway.
Uncertainty looms over February loadings
A seasonal slowdown in Europe and Asia’s crude imports, with the spillover effect of the coronavirus outbreak on oil demand, may hinder the momentum of US crude exports in coming weeks.
So far, two VLCCs — Olympic Trust and Eagle Verona — laden with crude from Corpus Christi— are enroute to Asia. Another two tankers, Sara and Zourva, have been provisionally fixed for loading in mid-to-end February.
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