Posts from Brett Hunter

The deepwater crude oil export projects under development along the U.S. Gulf Coast offer a number of potential benefits to shippers and customers alike. These include the ability to fully load a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) and the economies of scale that come with that, the elimination of reverse lightering and the corresponding decrease in emissions, and freed-up access on congested ship channels for other exports such as NGLs, refined products and clean ammonia. So, given all the potential upside, why hasn’t anyone fully committed to building one? In today’s RBN blog, we focus on the obstacles faced by deepwater export facilities and where each of the projects under development is in the permitting process. 

With many years gone by and many millions of dollars spent, the deepwater crude oil export projects under development along the U.S. Gulf Coast are finally getting close to receiving their regulatory green light. These projects have sparked commercial and wider market interest because of the many benefits they may provide — including the ability to fully load the biggest tankers, the Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) capable of taking on 2 MMbbl, which could contribute to lower per-barrel shipping costs. In today’s RBN blog, we kick off an offshore oil terminal series, starting with the case for constructing at least one of the export projects. 

Crude oil quality has been a hot topic lately. With the increase in waterborne activity along the Gulf Coast, a high-quality barrel is desired now more than ever. Permian WTI exports have continued to increase as production rises and refining capacity remains relatively stagnant (outside of ExxonMobil’s recent Beaumont expansion). This has resulted in more scrutiny on Permian quality and more concerns rising to the surface — both from the pockets of lower-quality WTI produced at the wellhead and from blending by market participants, as many midstream providers and traders have become efficient at capturing arbitrage opportunities. Recent WTI quality concerns have primarily been around metal content, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and mercaptans, while nitrogen has become a major issue in the natural gas market. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the issue of mercaptans in WTI.