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Another super-sized ship sails from Port of Corpus Christi

The Mt Astra sails fully loaded under the Harbor Bridge on April 6 after filling up with crude oil at Buckeye Partner’s newly modified dock in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. Courtesy photo

A Suezmax tanker recently loaded up with crude oil at a dock in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel recently and was able to pass, fully loaded, under the 138-foot clearance at the Harbor Bridge. Loading the Mt Astra on April 6 was a major first for Buckeye Texas Hub terminal at the Port of Corpus Christi. The 890-foot vessel is yet another of the super-sized export ships to successfully navigate the channel.

Recent modifications at the Buckeye Texas Hub made it possible for the big ship to dock, load, and leave what is known as a relatively small harbor. The Port of Corpus Christi is working to dredge the channel to make it deeper and wider for the bigger ships now used to transport oil and gas products. The Harbor Bridge is in the process of being replaced with a taller version. The new bridge should be completed by late 2021.

“Upgrading the terminal’s deep-water docks at Corpus Christi will help us to meet the growing demand for this product from European refineries and Far East refineries and petrochemical plants,” said Corey Prologo, head of oil trading and director for Trafigura North America. A commodities trader, Trafigura owns 20 percent of Buckeye Partners. “North American supplies have launched the U.S. onto the world stage as a new crude provider.”

Although the bigger ships are becoming more common at the Port of Corpus Christi, they usually must berth at the bulk terminal.

Buckeye Partners’ modifications at its terminal includes storage capacity for 7 million barrels of liquid petroleum products as well as pipeline connectivity. Buckeye pipelines bring in product from the Permian and Eagle Ford shale plays for shipping from Corpus Christi. The site can also accommodate two 25,000-barrels-per-day condensate splitters.

The Houston-based company ships to customers in China, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

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