Collective Effort: Trafigura and Phillips 66 join forces in offshore project

Posted at 8:14 AM, Feb 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 13:09:24-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Phillips 66 and the Trafigura Group have announced they are forming a 50/50 joint venture, to built an offshore deepwater port about 21 miles offshore from the Port of Corpus Christi.

The new plan will be a 50/50 partnership consisting of up to two single point mooring (SPM) buoys and will be called The Bluewater Texas SPM project.

The port is designed for what is described as to allow for the safe and environmentally responsible loading of crude tankers, including Very Large Crude Carriers or “VLCCs.”

Earlier, Phillips 66 and Trafigura had both proposed similar projects.

The Port had opposed the Trafigura project. And in December 2018, it convinced the city to pass a resolution opposing the project.

But now, the port, Phillips 66 and Trafigura will partner to build that offshore deepwater mooring facility.

No construction timeline has been released.

Trafigura is a global, privately-held physical commodity trading and logistics company with offices in Houston, Texas and is one of the Port of Corpus Christi’s largest users of its facilities. Houston-based Phillips 66 is an experienced operator of SPMs, having operated such a facility in the United Kingdom since the early 1970’s.

“We salute Phillips 66 and Trafigura for agreeing to partner in a single point mooring export facility, and for recognizing the Port as an integral part of the success of this ambitious yet much needed capability,” Port of Corpus Christi CEO Sean Strawbridge said.

Phillips 66 submitted its application to Maritime Administration (MARAD) for a Deepwater Port License under the Bluewater Texas franchise in mid-2019. Trafigura has withdrawn its application submitted in mid-2018 to the U.S. Department of Transportation for a MARAD Deepwater Port License to develop an offshore terminal named Texas Gulf Terminals near the Padre Island National Seashore.

The reduction in SPM projects has occurred in other areas of the Texas coast, likely as a measure of capital discipline and market forces.

The Port will work closely with Bluewater Texas and its representatives to support this environmentally sustainable infrastructure for the export of crude oil to global markets while benefitting the regional economy. The Port intends to lease land and rights-of-way in support of the venture.

“The Port of Corpus Christi welcomes Phillips 66 and Trafigura," said Charles W. Zahn Jr., the port's commission chairman. "This project is indicative of the need for additional U.S. and Texas energy export infrastructure and we couldn’t be more thrilled by these two reputable companies joining forces."