At Tuesday’s meeting, the Corpus Christi City Council considers a resolution against the proposed Trafigura Gulf Terminals project.
Plans call for the Trafigura project to be built in the Gulf of Mexico off Kleberg County. Trafigura wants to build a terminal to load oil onto Very Large Crude Carriers 12 miles offshore, in federal waters, away from state regulation.
Corpus Christi has 20 miles of beaches directly down-wind from the proposed site, raising concerns about potential accidents.
“If you would to have an accident, I know accidents are rare, but it would directly affect Corpus Christi’s beach,” said District 4 City Councilman Greg Smith.
Smith points to the 1979 Campece Bay oil spill as an example of what can happen.
“It brought our beaches to their knees for about six months,” said Smith. “That oil spill was several hundred miles away, if we would have one 12 miles away, with all that oil coming ashore, it would be bad.”
Smith is also concerned about the city’s air quality if Trafigura is allowed to build its terminal. He says loading crude offshore releases volatile organic compounds, known as VOCs, into the air.
“We could have just thousands of of tons of VOCs blow our way,” said Smith.
Port of Corpus Christi officials applaud the city’s resolution.
“We understand the city’s concerns, we share their concerns,” said Port Chief Executive Officer Sean Strawbridge.
The Port plans to build its own VLCC terminal in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, near Harbor Island. Texas regulations require terminals in state waters eliminate VOCs.
“It’s always better to handle these ships in safe harbor, close to shore where you have all the technologies and the processes to make sure the products are being handled in a very sustainable and responsible way,” said Strawbridge.
The Trafigura project still needs to be approved by the United State Department of Transportation. Tuesday’s resolution also calls on Gov. Greg Abbott to oppose the proposal.
KRIS 6 News reached out to Trafigura for comment, but didn’t get a response.