In the three years since Moda Midstream acquired Occidental Petroleum’s marine terminal in Ingleside, TX, the company has developed millions of barrels of additional storage capacity, connected the facility to a slew of Permian-to-Corpus Christi pipelines, and increased the terminal’s ability to quickly and efficiently load crude onto the super-size Suezmaxes and VLCCs that many international shippers favor. Moda’s fast-paced efforts have paid off big-time, first by making its Ingleside facility by far the #1 exporter of U.S. crude oil and now with a $3 billion agreement to sell the terminal and related pipeline and storage assets to Enbridge. The transaction, which is scheduled to close by the end of this year, will make Enbridge — already the co-owner of the Seaway Freeport and Seaway Texas City terminals up the coast — the top dog in Gulf Coast crude exports. Today, we discuss the Moda agreement and how it advances Enbridge’s broader Gulf Coast export strategy.
One of the most fascinating developments of the Shale Era has been the U.S.’s emergence as a leading crude oil exporter. The transformation, which began in earnest with the lifting of the ban on most crude exports in December 2015, hasn’t been easy — or cheap. Marine terminals designed to receive imported oil needed to be reworked and expanded; existing pipelines had to be repurposed and new pipelines built; and ship channel dredging projects needed to be planned and financed to accommodate larger supertankers. We’ve been chronicling this build-out in a number of blogs, blog series, and Drill Down reports, including How Much More Can She Stand and, more recently, Leaders of the Pack, which focused on the three leading export terminals in 2020 — the Moda Ingleside Energy Center (MIEC) near Corpus Christi, the Enterprise Hydrocarbons Terminal (EHT) in Houston, and the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) — which together accounted for nearly half of export volumes last year. In the first eight months of 2021, South Texas Gateway (MIEC’s neighbor in Ingleside), has moved up to the #3 spot, displacing LOOP (at least for the time being), but MIEC is still way out front, sending out an average of 656 Mb/d in the January-through-August period, compared with runner-up EHT’s 366 Mb/d and South Texas Gateway’s 257 Mb/d.
As shown in Figure 1, the Moda Ingleside terminal (striped yellow-and-white bar segments) regularly accounts for a substantial share of Corpus Christi’s total crude export volumes (yellow bar segments plus striped yellow-and-white bar segments) and often equals or exceeds the volumes being exported by all the terminals in the Houston area (green bar segments).
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