Dallas-based Energy Transfer LP is seeking to replace an existing offshore natural gas platform and build a crude oil export project in the Gulf of Mexico 99 miles offshore from Cameron Parish in southwest Louisiana.

The Maritime Administration, in coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard, is holding two virtual public meetings for Cameron Parish residents from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and created a website for more information while it prepares an environmental impact report. 

Energy Transfer, which already has plans for Lake Charles LNG, a liquefied natural gas export terminal in Calcasieu Parish, hopes to begin construction on the oil export platform during the fourth quarter of 2021 and begin commercial service by third-quarter 2023, according to its application.

The Maritime Administration is considering issuing a license to the business for its deepwater port, which could load up to 80,000 barrels of crude oil every hour onto very large oil carriers too large to visit onshore ports. The maximum capacity would be 2 million barrels per day.

The facility would be a competitor to the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, which was built in the late 1970s as an import facility about 20 miles offshore from Port Fourchon, then retrofitted for exports. The import facility is collectively owned and operated by Marathon, Shell and Valero. The oil port stands in 110 feet of water and has 60 million barrels of crude oil storage capacity inside underground caverns that are naturally occurring salt domes. The oil port can export up to 1.2 million barrels of crude oil each day. 

Energy Transfer, the parent company of Sunoco, is expected to transfer crude oil from a Sunoco storage terminal in Texas to its new subsidiary Blue Marlin Offshore Port LLC's deepwater platform. The company expects to export both light- and heavy-grade crudes. 

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Energy Transfer already operates the largest above-ground crude oil storage facility in the U.S. in Nederland, Texas, which is the destination for long-haul pipelines from Bakken and Permian shale plays. 

The company did not disclose how much the project would cost, citing confidential information in its application. The plan is to remove much of the existing natural gas platform, which sits in water 162 feet deep, and relocate it to either a Rigs to Reef location or onshore salvage sites.

Energy Transfer plans to abandon the Stingray Pipeline that already transports natural gas and natural gas liquids to a compressor near Holly Beach in Cameron and retrofit it for crude oil use.

The company declined an interview request.

At least three other unrelated deepwater oil export terminals are being proposed in the Gulf of Mexico off the Texas coast. Bluewater Texas Terminal LLC, a joint venture between Phillips 66 and Trafigura Group Pte Ltd., is proposing a terminal 21 miles off the coast from Corpus Christi. Sea Port Oil Terminal, a deal between Enterprise Products Partners and Canadian pipeline operator Enbridge, is proposed about 30 miles off the coast from Houston. Under review is Texas GulfLink LLC, owned by Sentinel Midstream, is proposed 30 miles off the coast from Freeport.


Email Kristen Mosbrucker at kmosbrucker@theadvocate.com.