Standing on the Shore - Suddenly, a Slew of Gulf Coast Crude Loadings Onto VLCCs

In 2018, a handful of midstream companies started racing to develop deepwater export terminals along the Gulf Coast that can fully load Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) with 2 MMbbl of crude oil from the Permian and other plays. While some of those companies are moving toward final investment decisions (FIDs) that would bring their plans to fruition in the early 2020s, terminal operators with existing VLCC-capable assets — both onshore and offshore — turned up the volume in a major way in December. Today, we outline the strides made in recent days by the export programs of the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), Seaway Texas City and Moda Midstream.

The U.S. is now the largest oil-producing country in the world — recently surpassing both Russia and Saudi Arabia — with output at 11.7 MMb/d per the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Weekly Petroleum Status Report for the week ended December 28 (2018) and averaging 10.8 MMb/d for the full year. Additionally, RBN’s mid-case scenario forecasts that volume will grow by about 900 Mb/d each year to 16.2 MMb/d by 2024, with 60% of that growth coming from the Permian. Figure 1 below shows our latest view of where U.S. crude production is headed.

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