John Roper, managing director & head of Middle East for Uniper Global Commodities examines how low suplhur fuel oil and LNG are emerging as preferred fuel options in the build up to the IMO's 2020 deadline & what Fujairah - the second largest bunkering hub - is doing to prepare.
For the first time since engines replaced sails in the early 19th century, the operational status quo of global shipping is being rewritten.
The International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) ruling to reduce the sulphur cap for bunker fuel from 3.5% to 0.5% by 2020 means an overhaul of the industry facilitating 90% of the world's trade, including energy commodities - and quickly.
2020 is a very short two years away for energy stakeholders to adapt to one of the biggest disruptions in the shipping industry in living memory.
High sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) was used for approximately 70% of the world's bunker fuel in 2016; volumes that will not be compliant post-2020. The impact of the IMO ruling could result in a demand drop of as much as 2.1 million barrels per day in HSFO accounting for nearly 30% of global residual fuel oil demand. No entity along the value chain – from refineries, trading, logistics, ports to shipowners – in the Middle East and beyond will be untouched.
A silver bullet to post-2020 bunkering remains elusive. But amongst the plethora of options, low sulphur fuel oil (LSFO) and liquified natural gas (LNG) bunkering are emerging as preferred options for energy stakeholders seeking an economic and environmentally sustainable route. Plans to increase the use of both bunkering options are under discussion in the Middle East; the UAE's Port of Fujairah, the world's second largest bunkering hub, is already developing LSFO bunkering solutions and in the GCC FSRU LNG import projects can be designed to facilitate LNG bunkering.
LSFO ticks the right environmental boxes and is arguably the Middle East's easiest shortcut to meeting the IMO's ruling, as the region's portfolio of dedicated and sophisticated refineries can adjust their crude palettes to 0.1% (ultra low sulphur fuel oil, used in emission control areas (ECA) ) - 0.5% sulphur relatively easily. LNG bunkering also contains almost no sulphur, can be priced off oil markers, is a proven technology and has lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The green credentials of both fuels also support Middle Eastern governments' commitment to the Paris Agreement; an important consideration when so much of the region's energy assets are state-owned or associated.
As with any major change, some hurdles must be navigated first; this is not a negative, but a sign of progress.
The lines of communication between refineries, ports and ship owners need to improve to accurately gauge the need and subsequent supply of LSFO supply from 2020. The same applies to minimising the variability of the blend quality between suppliers all over the world. Meanwhile, LNG bunkering tends to suit fixed maritime routes that already have supporting infrastructure in place, both at ports and via floating storage regasification units (FSRUs).
To broaden the application of LNG bunkering post-2020, improving this level of flexibility to ensure roaming ships are catered for must be a priority. Advocates of LNG bunkering must also address the question of supply. Rising power demand means the region's gas imports are growing; LNG imports grew by more than 380% in the last three years, S&P Global Platts said in 2017. Energy stakeholders need to work out the logistics and maths of sourcing high volumes of LNG for bunkering amidst domestic and industrial needs.
Other bunkering options include using HSFO alongside scrubbers or exhaust gas cleaning systems, which are not considered an environmentally-friendly route long term. Additionally, the cost of investing in scrubbers can range between $1-9 million per ship depending on it's size. Ship owners are currently reluctant to make these investments as the industry struggles out of a low margin environment.
Alternatively, ship operators can fail to act and pay the penalties. While there is no global game plan – solutions depend on individual needs – there is a consensus that conformity for post-2020 bunkering will help trim overall costs and improve energy supply and security.
It is still better to feel the financial squeeze today than risk financial sorrow in the future; compliance to IMO 2020 carries a steep price tag in a cash-strapped energy industry.
Consultants Wood Mackenzie estimated last year that a full compliance scenario would incur an increase of up to $60 billion per year in global bunker fuel costs from 2020, while S&P Global Platts said the impact of these changes will reach $1 trillion over five years. The line between winners and losers in the early 2020s could be well-defined between those who can afford to evolve – and those who cannot.
Each point should serve as a reminder that the emphasis on making bunkering 'greener' will only intensify; therein lies the value of LSFO and LNG. Leveraging either or both will relieve these intensifying pressure points. They also serve as a good starting point for energy stakeholders to hedge against more shifting sands; more climate-related mitigations in the energy market are inevitably around the corner.
LBC Tank Terminals has celebrated another milestone in its Rotterdam expansion project after the first vessel berthed at its new jetty.
The company is currently expanding its LBC Rotterdam facility in the Botlek to triple the current capacity and improve jetty and land infrastructure.
The first phase of project Rainbow is close to completion. The first new tanks became fully operational in April and the terminal berthed the first vessel at its new jetty.
The jetty is the result of a collaboration between the Port of Rotterdam and LBC Tank Terminal.
During the coming months, LBC will focus on its product transfer programme, where it will connect all existing tanks to the new jetty and demolish the redundant jetty. Once this phase is complete, the new jetty will be extended to allow for four berthing positions – two for seagoing vessels and two for barges.
The company says in a statement: 'To realise our vision of creating a sustainable future for LBC, all its employees and customers, we will continue our expansion with new project phases. The provisional plans are currently under review by our engineering team.'
Esso Italiana has signed an agreement to sell a refinery, three fuel terminals and associated pipelines to Sonatrach.
The agreement comprises the Augusta refinery, three terminals in Augusta, Palermo and Naples to the Algerian state oil company.
Esso Italiana and ExxonMobil will enter into multi-year commercial and technology agreements with Sonatrach for refinery products, including Group I base stocks and waxes, as well as the operation, improvement and use of the three terminals.
Base stocks and waxes from Augusta will continue to be marketed by ExxonMobil at current specifications. The sale is expected to close by the end of 2018.
Julia Ruessmann, sales manager, EAME basestocks & specialities, says: 'We will continue to provide a reliable supply of Group I base stocks, globally and in EAME including the ExxonMobile AP/E Core slate manufactured in Augusta.
'With this agreement and a robust manufacturing network around the world producing Group I CORE, we will remain the largest global marketer of high-quality Group I base stocks.'
Shell Midstream Partners is taking part in its largest acquisition to date following a purchase and sale agreement to acquire Shell's ownership interest in Amberjack Pipeline Company.
The interest comprises 75% of Amberjack Series A and 50% of Amberjack Series B for $1.22 billion.
The benefits of the company for Shell Midstream comprise sustained growth, connectivity and market optionality.
The acquisition closed on May 11.
Kevin Nichols, CEO, says: This is a significant milestone for Shell Midstream Partners. The Amberjack pipeline is strategically located to capture value in a prolific area in the Gulf of Mexico and represents another key corridor that is set to benefit from organic growth.
'This acquisition, combined with our equity raise earlier in the year, further demonstrates our ability to deliver against our promises and positions us well for the future.'
Vopak Terquimsa has started work on the second phase of its expansion project at its storage terminal in Tarragona.
The expansion will add 27,500 m3 of storage capacity for chemical products at the dock of the Chemistry (Muelle de la Quimica), reinforcing the terminals leading storage position in the Port of Tarragona.
Once complete, capacity at Vopak Terquimsa will be 430,000 m3.
Eduardo Sañudo, general director of the company, says: 'We want to continue to meet the needs of our industrial customers located in the chemical cluster of Tarragona. This new capacity will allow us to attract new flows that enhance our role as a hub for chemical products in the western Mediterranean.'
Total oil product stocks in Fujairah fell 3.6%, or 682,000 barrels to 18.251 million barrels, as demand for light distillates rose in the week leading up to Ramadan, according to data from the Fujairah Energy Data Committee, or FEDCom.
Stocks of light distillates fell 5.4% on the week to 6.943 million barrels, an eight-week low, as regional demand edged up ahead of the month-long Ramadan starting next week, S&P Global Platts Analytics said in a report.
Premiums for Arab Gulf RON 95 petrol were unchanged on the week at a near four-month high of $2.90/b Tuesday, May 8. But tepid demand in the Asia Pacific means there is still ample supply available for the Middle East. Stocks of heavy distillates and residues also fell 5.7% on the week to 9.019 million barrels.
Bunker market sentiment was reported as good in Fujairah in recent days, but buying activity has been complicated by rising crude prices and geopolitical uncertainties surrounding the Iranian nuclear deal. Iran is a major supplier of fuel oil, and the re-imposition of US sanctions, announced late-Tuesday will have a major impact on the bunker market.
Power generation demand in the region is building, with sources noting rising demand from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in particular. Platts fixture logs have recently shown the unusual move of dirty oil products from the US Gulf Coast being exported to Saudi Arabia. Stocks of middle distillates rose 12.8% on the week to 2.289 million barrels, but are still rangebound, averaging 2.2 million barrels since the start of the year.
Demand for diesel remained firm from the Middle East and India ahead of Ramadan and the summer months, when gasoil demand generally rises for power generation. Middle distillate stocks in both Singapore and the ARA region have trended lower in recent weeks, reflecting tighter supply fundamentals.
Inter Terminals has recorded a drop in funds from operations as a result of a backwardated environment for some petroleum products in Europe.
Inter Pipeline's bulk liquid storage segment generated funds from operations of $18.7 million in the first quarter of 2018, compared to $26.2 million in the first quarter of 2017.
It attributed this to slowing storage demand for certain petroleum products in Europe due to a backwardated commodity pricing environment.
As a result, average storage utilisation rates during this 2018 quarter were 82% compared to 99% for the same period a year ago. Subsequent to the quarter, several new storage contracts started, and utilisation rates improved to 87% in April.
Overall, Inter Pipeline recorded a 3% increase in funds from operations compared to the first quarter 2017. Record total pipeline throughput volumes averaged 1,488,400 barrels per day.
Stena Oil has announced plans to build a new marine fuel storage terminal in Denmark in direct response to the IMO 2020 sulphur fuel cap.
The facility in the Port of Frederikshavn will be the largest of its kind in Scandinavia, with a capacity of 75,000 m3 and its location will reduce the distances travelled by bunkering vessels.
The facility has been made possible by major investment in recent years to expand and develop the port. It will be built in a new outer part of the harbour where Stena Oil will have exclusive access to a 300 meter-long quayside with 14 meters draft.
The terminal will collect slops as well as performing several other services. The boat that supplies fuel can carry slops back to the terminal where they are pumped into tanks and cleaned in an environmentally sound process.
It will also provide a base for Stena Oil's European Maritime Safety Agency work, which will provide rapid response ships and equipment for oil spill cleaning.
Jonas Persson, MD of Stena Oil, says: 'We are delighted to be developing our business in Frederikshavn. We will create a state-of-the-art terminal that can handle all fuel types that meet the IMO's global sulphur directive, which comes into effect in 2020.
'In combination with our Gothenburg terminal, we will have the capability to serve our customers even better.
'We are also investing in a bunkering vessel. We are well prepared to meet changing customer needs and the 2020 fuel requirements.'
USD Partners is considering a potential expansion of its Hardisty terminal to meet near-term demand from customers.
In its first quarter 2018 financial result, USD said that customer activity at its Hardisty origination terminal has substantially ramped up and that current market demand exceeds the available capacity at the terminal.
CEO Dan Borgen says: 'Given the current market dynamics and the increased support from the Canadian railroads, we and our general partner are actively negotiating with current and new potential customers to extend the terms of our existing take-or-pay agreements as well as evaluating a potential expansion to meet near-term demand.
'The recent success we had filing the remaining capacity at our Stroud terminal with crude originated at our Hardisty terminal simply validates the significant value our network can provide.'
The company's Hardisty and Casper terminals are well-positioned at strategic locations to meet growing takeaway needs as Western Canadian crude oil supplies continue to exceed available pipeline takeaway capacity. The company believes its Stroud terminals provides an advantaged rail destination for Western Canadian crude oil given the optionality provided by its connectivity to the Cushing hub as well as multiple refining centres across the US.
In a statement, the company says: 'The partnership expects these advantages, including its recent established origin-to-destination capabilities, to result in long-term contract extensions and expansion opportunities across its terminal network.'
In the second quarter of 2018, the company continues to use tank capacity at the Casper terminal to support spot shipments for several customers, with whom it is negotiating term agreements for potential ongoing use of the terminal.
Additionally, the company is pursuing a hub strategy through existing and potential additional connections to other downstream pipelines in the area.
Lindsay Goldberg has announced plans to sell its 49% shareholding in Odfjell Terminals.
The private equity company has been Odfjell's joint venture partner in Odfjell Terminals' US and European terminals since 2011. In 2013, the partnership was expanded to include Odfjell Terminals' global terminal operations.
Odfjell has said that, as part of LG's considered sale, it will evaluate selling its indirect 51% shareholding in Odfjell Terminals Rotterdam. It says in a statement that it 'continues to consider Odfjell Terminals as core business and are committed long-term to owning, developing and operating tank terminals'.
SABIC and ExxonMobil have formed a joint venture to accelerate development of the Gulf Coast growth ventures project.
The project comprises a 1.8 million tonnes ethane cracker, which will be built in San Patricio County, Texas. It will also include a monoethylene glycol unit and two polyethylene units.
Construction of the project, announced in 2016, is pending completion of the environmental permitting process. It is expected to be operational in the 2021 – 2022 timeframe.
'We look forward to the next phaser of the project, which supports not only our goals for global diversification, but also supports Saudi Vision 2030,' says SABIC vice chairman and CEO Yousef Al-Benyan. 'In addition, we are proud of the role the project will play in enhancing the economic profile of San Patricio Country, Texas.'
Total oil product stocks in Fujairah stood at 18.93 million barrels as of Monday, April 30, down 2.7% week on week, after hitting a seven-month high last week, according to data from the Fujairah Energy Data Committee, or FEDCom.
The drop was mostly due to a sharp 10.7% fall in light distillate stocks, which include petrol, slipping to 7.342 million barrels. Premiums for Arab Gulf RON 95 petrol edged up to a 15-week high of $2.90/b as regional demand builds leading up to the start of Ramadan in mid-May, though supply is still seen as largely balanced, S&P Global Platts Analytics said in a report Wednesday.
Kuwait's KPC was reported seeking 25,000 mt of RON 91 petrol via tender for delivery over May 18-19, having last week issued the same volume and grade for delivery earlier in the month. While light distillate inventories fell, stocks of the other product categories grew, with middle distillates up 16.1% week on week to 2.03 million barrels.
Regional gasoil demand is also rising ahead of Ramadan, while additional support has come from tighter fundamentals in other regions. In Europe, lower stock levels and a strengthening market structure continues to pull in barrels from the East, Platts Analytics said.
Stocks of gasoil in the ARA region are at a three-month low and about 30% lower year on year, according to data from PJK International. Asian supply is also relatively tight due to lower export volumes from China and India resulting from refinery maintenance and strong domestic demand, respectively. Stocks of heavy distillates and residues edged up 0.9% to 9.561 million barrels. Bunker demand in Fujairah was reported as healthy this week, although the volatility of crude prices continues to weigh on sentiment.
'No one can predict the market these days due to geopolitical reasons,' a Fujairah-based bunker trader said.
Regional fuel oil demand is expected to pick up in the coming month as summer power demand comes in to play. Saudi Arabia is already increasing fuel oil imports to prepare for summer demand, according to one source.
Howard Midstream Energy Partners & its bulk liquid terminal subsidiary Maverick Terminals has started operations of its new bulk liquid storage terminal in the Port of Corpus Christi.
Operations at the facility include the storage, blending and unit train loading of two grades of petrol - ULSD and petrol blend stocks from various local refineries – for ultimate delivery to global markets.
The new facility comprises six, 80,000-barrel tanks with an aggregate storage capacity of 480,000 barrels. It is permitted for up to 1.25 million barrels of storage, with the capability to expand to up to 2.5 million barrels within the current footprint of 41 acres.
Products can be received by marine vessels and via a 12-inch pipeline, which is connected to Origin Station, providing connectivity to all six refineries in Corpus Christi.
Howard Midstream has also entered into an agreement with the Port of Corpus Christi to engineer and build Dock 20, which will accommodate Suezmax-class vessels for the movement of a variety of bulk petroleum liquids at transfer rates of up to 50,000 barrels per hour.
Mark Helmke, senior vice president of terminals and transportation for Howard Energy Partners, says: 'The expansion of our terminal services to the Port of Corpus Christi is a strategic decision supporting our plan to provide efficient logistics solutions serving producers, refiners, traders, blenders and end-users.
'With the Corpus Christi terminal up and running, we are now able to provide a variety of options along the Gulf Coast for the safe and efficient movement of petroleum and other bulk liquids.'
President and co-founder of Howard Energy Partners Brad Bynum adds that the facility is poised to provide world-class midstream services to clients seeking to export crude oil, refined products and natural gas liquids from the regions major production basins and refining centres to the global markets.
He also says: 'The completion of this facility is also a significant step in our continued plans to develop key infrastructure for the movement of energy commodities into and out of Mexico.'
Petrobras plans to sell a 60% operating stake in four oil refineries as part of plans to sell down its dominant position in Brazil's fuel market.
The sales, which include the newly built Refinaria do Nordeste, represent what is expected to be the first move in a restructuring of Brazil's refining sector. Currently, Petrobras operates 98% of Brazil's refining capacity.
The company's plans to retreat from the refining sector were announced in mid-216 and it has said it will refocus its investments on exploration and production.
In a filing with local stock regulators, the company says: 'The model outlines the creation of two subsidiaries, one combining assets in the northeast region and the other combining assets in the south region. Petrobras intends to sell 60% of its participation in each of these new companies.'
The northeast cluster includes the Refinaria Landulpho Alves (RLAM) in Bahia state, and the Refinaria do Nordeste (rnest). They both process 430,000 barrels per day.
The cluster includes 770km of oil pipelines linking the refineries with terminals and distribution points. Storage and transfer capacity will also be included, comprising 5.4 million barrels of capacity via the company's stake in terminals at Candeias, Itabuna, Jequie and Madre de Deus in Bahia state and the Suape terminal in Pernambuco.
The south cluster comprises Refinaria Presidente Getulio Vargas (Repar) and Refinaria Alberto Pasqualini (Refap). This cluster includes 736km of pipeline as well as rights to seven terminals with 6.1 million barrels of crude, 3.3 million barrels of oil products and 100,000 barrels of LPG capacity.
Work on the 230,000 barrels per day Duqm refinery, which is the largest cross-border GCC investment in the downstream sector, has started.
His Highness Sayyid/Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, minister of heritage and culture, took part in the groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction work for the project. The project by Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Industries Company is envisaged to be the cornerstone for other downstream projects in the future.
The refinery, which will manufacture clean, high-quality products in compliance with global standards for safety and operation, will bolster the energy industry of the Sultanate by strengthening the supply and production of diesel, jet fuel, naphtha, LPG, sulphur and pet coke as its primary products.
It will be situated on a 900-hectare site in the south east of Al Wusta in Oman. The project comprises three EPC packages. The first is the process unit of the refinery and the second includes utilities and offsite facilities. The third consists of the product storage and export terminal in Duqm, crude storage tanks in Ras Markaz and the 80km crude pipeline from Ras Markaz to the refinery complex.
The project has the potential to serve as the springboard for Duqm's planned transformation into one of the largest industrial and economic hubs in the region.
Iasm bin Saud Al-Zadjali, CEO of Oman Oil Company, says: 'Oman Oil Company performs the role of a catalyst to develop industrial hubs and regions in Oman. The Duqm refinery is one such project that symbolises the effective collaboration between Oman and Kuwait. We believe development of the refinery will support the business landscape in Duqm and will contribute to the creation of an attractive infrastructure for foreign investors, thereby developing the area further and adding jobs to the local economy.'
Nabil Bourisli, CEO and president, Kuwait Petroleum International, says: 'The modern landmark will leverage the energy sector of the Sultanate since it is a combination of integrity, maximisation of resources and development, to be laid in a very favourable region.'
Marathon Petroleum will acquire all of Andeavor's outstanding shares as part of a merger agreement to create a leading US refining, marketing and midstream company.
The transaction will mean that Marathon and Andeavor shareholders will own 66% and 34% of the combined company, respectively.
Once the transaction is complete in the second half of 2018 it will create a leading nationwide integrated energy company with an initial enterprise value greater than $90 billion.
It will substantially increase its geographic diversification and scale positioning the company for long-term growth and value creation.
Gary R. Heminger, Marathon chairman and CEO, says: 'This transaction combines two strong, complementary companies to create a leading US refining, marketing and midstream company, building a platform that is well-positioned for long-term growth and shareholder value creation.
'Each of our operating segments are strengthened through this transaction, as it geographically diversifies our refining portfolio into attractive markets, increases access to advantaged feedstocks, enhances our midstream footprint in the Permian basin, and creates a nationwide retail and marketing portfolio that will substantially improve efficiencies and enhance our ability to serve customers. '
The move will build on Marathon's strong footprint in the Marcellus, the combined company's expanded presence in the Permian and Bakken regions significantly increases its midstream growth opportunities.
Total oil product stocks in Fujairah stood at 19.451 million barrels as of Monday, 23 April, up 7.3% from a week earlier, reaching a seven-month high on sizable jumps in light and heavy product levels, according to the latest data from the Fujairah Energy Data Committee, or FEDCom.
Stocks of light distillates jumped 11.3% week on week to 8.224 million barrels, an eight-week high, the data showed. Premiums for Arab Gulf RON 95 petrol have been at $2.75/b since early April, with healthy regional demand in the run-up to Ramadan, which begins mid-May. Kuwait's KPC is seeking 25,000 mt of 91 RON petrol for delivery over May 5-6 into Mina al-Ahmadi via a tender closing Friday, S&P Global Platts Analytics said in a report.
Stocks of heavy distillates and residues also rose by 9.9% week on week to 9.478 million barrels. Pakistan State Oil (PSO) made its first purchase since January, buying 60,000 mt of LSFO and 420,000 mt of HSFO for May delivery via tender. With power demand set to rise over the summer, PSO could continue to be active in the spot market over the next few months until August/September. Higher power demand for utility grade 180 CST fuel oil could provide continued support to an already wide viscosity spread, the report said. Bunker demand in Fujairah has been improving over the past week, though buying sentiment is still tentative as market players watch the recent rally in crude prices, it said.
MIDDLE DISTILLATE STOCKS FALL ON GASOIL DEMAND
At the same time, stocks of middle distillates fell by 17.5% to 1.749 million barrels, as regional gasoil demand strengthens ahead of Ramadan. Low stocks could also spur traders into stockpiling ahead of the peak summer demand season, traders said.
Arbitrage economics are less favorable for gasoil, but the window to move cargoes from Asia to the West of Suez for 10 ppm sulfur gasoil was briefly open last week, traders said. 'The arb was open last week when EFS was around minus $12/mt; it is closed now,' a trader said Monday. Meanwhile, cross-regional flows helped support jet fuel sentiment. Viable arbitrage economics to divert barrels to the ARA region and Africa has pushed cash re-grade differentials for FOB Arab Gulf cargoes to a premium of $1.60/b to Mean of Platts Arab Gulf jet fuel/kerosene assessments recently, from $1.25/b at the end of March.
Shell will sell its downstream business in Argentina to Raízen, including a refinery, retail stations and a range of liquid fuels businesses.
The sale for $0.95 billion includes the Buenos Aires Refinery, 645 retail stations, LPG, marine fuels, aviation fuels, bitumen, chemicals and lubricants business, as well as supply and distribution activities in the country.
Raízen, a joint venture between Shell and Cosan, is a leading biofuels producer and fuels distributor in Brazil, where it manages more than 6,000 Shell service stations. It also is present in 68 airport supply bases and in 68 fuel distribution terminals and sells 25 billion litres of fuel for the transportation, industrial and retail segments.
The agreement is consistent with Shell's strategy to simplify its portfolio through a $30 billion divestment programme. The sale is expected to complete later this year.
HES Botlek Tank Termaink is the first storage facility in the Netherlands to be awarded the ISO 28000 certificate.
1SO 28000 is a supply chain security management system developed specifically for organisations offering logistic services. The awarding of the certificate makes the facility the most certified tank terminal in Rotterdam.
The company says in a statement that to protect its property and that of its clients, it operates a QESSH management system, which was already certified according to the strictest standards covering security, the environment, quality and health & safety.
It also operates an ISPS system to maintain the quality of its security.
Buckeye Partners & Phillips 66 have formed a joint venture to develop a new deep-water marine storage terminal in Ingleside, Texas.
The South Texas Gateway Terminal will be built on a 212-acre waterfront parcel at the mouth of Corpus Christi Bay. It will be positioned to serve as the primary outlet for crude oil and condensate volumes delivered off of the planned Gray Oak pipeline from the Permian Basin.
The terminal, to be constructed and operated by Buckeye, will offer 3.4 million barrels of crude oil storage capacity, connectivity to the Gray Oak pipeline and two deep-water vessel docks capable of berthing VLCC petroleum tankers as part of the initial scope of construction.
The facility can ultimately be expanded to include over 10 million barrels of storage capacity as well as multiple additional docks and other inbound connections.
The initial construction of the facility is supported by long-term minimum volume throughput commitments from customers including Phillips 66 and Andeavor.
It is due to start operations by the end of 2019.
Khalid Muslih, executive vice president of Buckeye and president of Buckeye's global marine terminals business unit, says: 'The South Texas Gateway Terminal will serve as a premier open-access deep-water marine terminal in the Port of Corpus Christi.
'The terminal will provide customers with logistics solutions that connect the region's rapidly growing crude oil production with advantaged access to global markets.
'This project expands our presence in the important Corpus Christi market, which we believe offers strong competitive advantages for waterborne shipments of crude oil and other petroleum products from the fast-growing Permian and Eagle Ford shale plats.
'Recently announced improvements to our existing flagship Buckeye Texas Partners terminal, which sits along the ship channel in the Port of Corpus Christi, have expanded its leading marine terminaling capabilities.
'We believe that these assets represent a competitive advantage for Buckeye and position us at the forefront of the fast-growing US crude oil export movement.'