The Port Corpus Christi hosted on May 26 the very large crude carrier (VLCC) Anne, the largest oil tanker ever to call at a Gulf of Mexico port.
The 299,500 dwt ship docked at the Oxy Ingleside Energy Center (OIEC) export terminal, the first crude oil export facility in the US to receive such a large vessel.
Owned by Belgium-based shipping company Euronav, Anne is a 1,093-foot-long ship capable of holding over 2 million barrels of oil.
The arrival of the VLCC is said to reflect the port’s commitment to becoming a major exporter of Permian Basin crude and securing the infrastructure necessary to do so. Occidental Petroleum Corporation is using the visit for operational planning in preparation to regularly load VLCCs in the future from its oil export terminal.
“With a vision to be the Energy Port of the Americas, it is fitting for yet another milestone in US crude exports to be set at our port. As the first VLCC class vessel to call on any Gulf of Mexico port enters our Port Corpus Christi waterways, we are further assured of the importance in continuing infrastructure enhancements, and further deepening our ship channels,” Charles W. Zahn, Chairman of the Port Corpus Christi Commission, commented.
“The arrival of the VLCC at our terminal continues to build on our position as the Permian’s largest oil producer, enabling us to load the largest ships with our crude and the crude of other producers,” Vicki Hollub, President and Chief Executive Officer of Occidental Petroleum, pointed out.
When fully laden, a VLCC requires a draft of 66 feet. As explained, ship channel depth at Port Corpus Christi is at -47’ Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW), which would require a partial load of the VLCC, and an accompanying vessel to fill the remaining cargo once offshore. Current VLCC operations require multiple smaller vessels to transport product offshore for loading. Loading VLCCs at Occidental’s OIEC export terminal will provide significant cost and time savings, according to Port Corpus Christi.
The port is in the midst of a 10-year, USD 1 billion capital investment program. A major component of the program includes the Corpus Christi Ship Channel deepening and widening project.
This project will enhance the existing -47 foot (MLLW) Corpus Christi Ship Channel depth to -54 foot (MLLW), expanding width to 530 feet, and installing barge shelves along the channel. Additionally, construction of the longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere is underway to replace the aging Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge. Scheduled for completion in 2020, the bridge is expected to provide increased air draft clearance to 205 feet.