Take It to the Limit - New Infrastructure to Help Corpus Keep Pace with Permian Growth

Crude oil exports out of Corpus Christi have increased sharply in the past few months, hitting a record 11.5 million barrels (MMbbl) in April 2017. And that may be just the beginning; the volume of crude put on ships in the Shining City by the Sea is likely to rise new Permian-to-Corpus pipeline capacity is completed and as new storage capacity, distribution pipes and marine docks being planned to accommodate a flood of Permian oil come online. Today we continue our series on the build-out of crude-related infrastructure in South Texas’s largest port and refining center with a look at rising crude exports and the new projects being planned.

Hydrocarbon production growth in the Permian play in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico hasn’t missed a beat during the downturn in oil prices that started three years ago. Permian crude oil production now tops 2.3 million barrels/day (MMb/d) and is likely to rise by at least another 1.4 MMb/d by 2022, according to RBN’s latest Growth Scenario for the region, which we discussed in our recent Drill Down Report, With a Permian Well, They Cried More, More, More. Even faster growth is a distinct possibility — the multistack hydrocarbon resources and production economics in the Permian’s Midland and Delaware basins are that good, and exploration and production companies have placed big, expensive bets on the play’s success.

In Will It Go Round in Circles, we summed up efforts by midstream companies to stay a step ahead of the Permian’s growing crude pipeline takeaway needs, and in Part 1 of this series we continue today we noted that a disproportionate share of the new pipeline capacity being built and planned for out of the region is (or will be) headed toward Corpus Christi. Many Permian producers believe that their light, sweet crude will likely be highly valued in Corpus, where the oil can either feed local refineries or be loaded onto barges, tankers or maybe even Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs).

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