Falling Crude Oil Production and Demand
- Port of Corpus Christi CEO Sean Strawbridge has stated the Port’s goal is to have five million barrels per day moving through the Port, but Texas saw the biggest decrease in crude production in the country during April 2020, falling by more than a quarter of a million barrels a day.
- The coronavirus pandemic has shut down business around the world, causing a historic drop in oil demand just as production was reaching record highs. Energy companies now forecast to drill the fewest wells in decades in 2020, and “the future of the oil and gas industry’s recovery is tenuous.”
- The Permian Basin had 125 operational rigs as of July 10, compared with 437 last year, indicative of the volatile nature of the oil and gas industry. According to Bernadette Johnson, vice president of market intelligence at Enverus, it will be until 2023 or 2024 until the market starts to see a recovery back to pre-pandemic prices.
- The Railroad Commission of Texas shows there are no new crude oil pipelines under construction or permitted to carry oil to the Coastal Bend except for the Red Oak Pipeline, which is now on hold at least until January 2021.
Competition Along the Gulf Coast
- Currently, there are several offshore oil terminals being proposed along the Gulf Coast to serve Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), including the BWTX Project (expected to service up to 16 VLCCs per month), Enterprise’s Sea Port Oil Terminal near Freeport, and Sentinel Midstream’s Texas Gulf Link project off the coast of Brazoria Co.(expected to service 15 VLCCs per month), Jupiter in Brownsville, the Plaquemines Liquids Terminal in Mississippi.
- Meanwhile, Port of Corpus Christi officials are seeking a permit to build three million to five million barrels of oil storage as part of the proposed Lone Star Ports project.
- The risk to the environment and tourism is not worth the risk of developing an onshore crude oil terminal in Port Aransas, especially considering that an offshore terminal would almost double the Port’s current export capacity.
- Offshore and onshore facilities would compete for the same VLCC traffic the Port of Corpus Christi hopes to attract, and combined with lower production numbers, the amount of exports does not substantiate the Harbor Island development’s risk to Port A’s ecology or tourism.