According to a recent statement, the Port of Corpus Christi ended 2019 with record tonnages for December, with 13.8 million cargo tons. What is more, the entire year recorded 122.2 million cargo tons; a 16-million-ton improvement over 2018 tonnages.
Namely, the growth is due to increases in energy exports of crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG). Growth in crude exports is primarily the result of two new crude pipelines from the largest energy producing fields in the United States, the Permian Basin.
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Further to this, the Plains All-American Cactus II and EPIC pipelines were brought online in Q3-2019 and helped clinch a record fourth quarter of 37.5 million tons- a 17% increase over the previous record set in the third quarter of 2019.
Year over year gains in crude production led to an impressive 26.8% jump in crude exports from the Port of Corpus Christi.
In addition, Liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports increased 6.6 million tons overall in 2019 – the equivalent of 316.8 billion cubic feet- as a result of Cheniere Energy subsidiary Corpus Christi Liquefaction increasing production with the commissioning of its first train in November 2018 and its second train in late 2019.
Sean Strawbridge, Chief Executive Officer for the Port of Corpus Christi commented that
These record-setting figures are not only indicative of a resilient energy export market, but are also reflective of the large infrastructure investments made by both private industry and the Port Authority as we position the Port of Corpus Christi as the Energy Port of the Americas.
Additional milestones in 2019 included the commencement of the long-awaited Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project– a near fully funded federal project to deepen the main channel to 54 feet mean lower low water and widen the Channel to 530 feet plus 200 feet of barge shelves.
The port also received the largest Liebherr ship-to-shore portal crane in North America in December 2019, saw the substantial completion of a new cement import facility designed for nearly 1 million tons per annum, and signed the largest marine terminal lease agreement in its 94-year history for a new crude export terminal designed to handle the Very Large Crude Carriers on Harbor Island in Port Aransas.
In March, the Port of Corpus Christi approved a 50-year lease agreement with Lone Star Ports, a joint venture between the Carlyle Group and the Berry Group, for about 200 acres on Harbor Island to develop a new petroleum export terminal. The facility aimed to connect US crude producers with all major international markets.
The facility on Harbor Island is planned to be the deepest-draft safe harbor crude export facility in the US once commissioned. Right after completion, the facility’s two docks will have access to the improved 56’ ship channel depth, making it the country’s first and only onshore terminal able of fully loading Suezmax vessels and nearly full loading Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs).
Charles W. Zahn, Jr., Port of Corpus Christi Commission Chairman stated that
We moved more than 120 million tons in 2019. The figure alone is impressive, but what is more remarkable is the exponential growth we are seeing year over year and sometimes even month over month. I think we can say with great confidence that we truly are Moving America’s Energy.