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Offshore Oil Terminal for Corpus Christi Safe, Says Study

Single-point mooring systems like this one are used to load very large crude carriers that cannot access land-based terminals because of shallow channels or low bridges. Photo courtesy of Trafigura

A proposed offshore oil terminal in the Coastal Bend was deemed environmentally safe by a consulting company hired to do the study. RSJ Consulting of Aurora, Colorado, recently announced that a terminal proposed for 13 miles off the shoreline of Padre Island National Seashore by Trafigura would be safe for loading and unloading crude oil. Trafigura is an international commodities company based in Switzerland.

On behalf of the King Ranch, the report was commissioned by the law firm of Blackburn & Carter to provide a third-party analysis of the single-point mooring known as Texas Gulf Terminals. According to the report, more than 600 such terminals have been built around the world. Of those, 16 are in the United States. The report does not include figures on numbers of oil spills from those terminals but did state that no major incidents have occurred.

“This independent analysis provides us with sufficient assurance that SPMs are the right technology to deploy along the Texas Gulf Coast to enhance America’s global energy leadership,” King Ranch CEO Robert Underbrink said in a news release.t

The Port of Corpus Christi and others are opposed to the project. The port has plans to build its own crude oil export terminal on Harbor Island. That project has driven some environmentalists to favor the offshore project over the land-based one. While the Port Aransas Conservancy group has not officially endorsed the offshore terminal, its spokesman John Donovan told reporters the RSJ report proves the organization’s point.

The project is supported by the King Ranch, where a pipeline is planned to connect the offshore terminal with a supply of crude. The project is currently under review by the federal government. Building permits are also underway.

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