How Much More Can She Stand, Part 8 - Ingleside's Quick Rise to Crude Exports Prominence

Since last summer, the Corpus Christi area has emerged as the U.S.’s leading crude export venue. In the first five and a half months of 2020, it accounted for an astounding 45% of the barrels being shipped abroad — astounding because in the same period last year, the Corpus area held less than a 20% share. What is sometimes forgotten, though, is that little Ingleside, TX, located across Corpus Christi Bay from Corpus proper, is the area’s crude-export leader, with the Moda Midstream and Flint Hills Resources terminals responsible for just over half of Greater Corpus’s total export volumes. And, with the new South Texas Gateway Terminal nearing completion, Ingleside’s role will only increase in the coming months. Today, we conclude a series on Gulf Coast export terminals with a look at what has been going on in Ingleside.

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the Seaway Freeport and Seaway Texas City terminals, both of which are part of Enterprise Products Partners and Enbridge’s broader Seaway Crude Pipeline (SCP) system. Part 2 reviewed the Houston Fuel Oil Terminal (HFOT), now owned by Energy Transfer, and the Seabrook Logistics Marine Terminal, which is jointly owned by Magellan Midstream Partners and LBT Tank Terminals. In Part 3, we examined Enterprise Hydrocarbon Terminal, or EHT, which is one of the largest energy-related marine terminals on the Gulf Coast, and in Part 4, we focused on the three crude export terminals in the Beaumont/Nederland, TX, area. Next, in Part 5, we looked at the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), which is the only Gulf Coast terminal that can fully load 2-MMbbl Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs); LOOP is also a major crude import terminal. In Part 6, we turned our sights to the Corpus area and reviewed the three newest facilities along the Corpus Christi Ship Channel’s Inner Harbor area: Eagle Ford Terminals, the EPIC Midstream Terminal, and Pin Oak Corpus Christi. Lastly, Part 7 discussed Inner Harbor terminals owned by NuStar Energy, Valero Energy, and Buckeye Partners.

There are a number of reasons the Corpus Christi area has become a leader in crude exports. As we’ve noted previously, Corpus is a refining center, with nearly 850 Mb/d of refinery capacity, and that it is the closest port city to the Eagle Ford and Permian production areas, the latter of which is by far the U.S.’s leading crude oil production area. Just as important, the Corpus area is the terminus of three new, big-diameter pipelines from the Permian — Cactus II (670 Mb/d), EPIC Crude (600 Mb/d), and Gray Oak (1 MMb/d) — all of which have come online since last August. The trio’s combined capacity is enough to handle about half of the Permian’s current production.

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