Sea Port Oil Terminal
|This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.|
Sea Port Oil Terminal, also known as SPOT, is a proposed oil export terminal offshore Freeport, Texas, United States.
The terminal will be located between 27.2 and 30.8 nautical miles off the coast of Freeport, Brazoria County, Texas.
- Owner: Enterprise Products Partners; Enbridge
- Location: Gulf of Mexico offshore Freeport, Texas
- Coordinates: 28.605717,-95.011104 (approximate)
- Capacity: 2 million barrels per day
- Status: Proposed
- Type: Export
- Start Year: 2023
Note: mtpa = million tonnes per year; bcfd = billion cubic feet per day
SPOT would involve the transportation of two million barrels of Permian crude oil every day through 50 miles of new pipeline to a new oil storage facility in Oyster Creek, Texas. From there, twin pipelines would cut through the town of Surfside Beach and into the ocean to a loading platform 30 miles off the Gulf Coast. This infrastructure would permit the loading of the largest oil tankers in the world, called Very Large Crude Carriers, for export to global markets. The project would cross 129 water bodies en route to the coast, threatening wetlands, waterways, and the well water which the Surfside community relies on.
On January 31, 2019, Enterprise Products submitted an application to the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and Maritime Administration (MARAD) seeking a Federal license under the Deepwater Port Act of 1974 (DWPA), as amended, to own, construct, operate, and eventually decommission the export terminal. In July 2019 Enterprise and Chevron announced that they had agreed on a final investment decision (FID) to support the project.  In December 2019 Enterprise announced that it will be jointly developing the project with Enbridge.
Project Delay and Opposition
In June 2020, USCG and MARAD suspended their review of and the drafting of an environmental impact statement for SPOT due to unanswered questions from Enterprise and Enbridge about the project description and a list of affected landowners. The promoters had planned to commence construction in summer 2020 on receipt of the federal licensing. The delay, on top of global oil market uncertainties resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, means that the project's completion date will be pushed to at least 2023 given the expected two year construction period if the project receives a green light to progress.
The comment period for the project's Draft Environmental Impact Statement saw local residents and concerned advocates submitting over 38,000 comments in opposition to the SPOT project, highlighting the risk it poses to waterways, endangered species, public health, local economies, and the global climate. The public submissions against the project followed calls from impacted local governments which also called for the project’s denial. In March 2020, the Surfside Beach City Council voted unanimously to oppose the project, and, in May 2020, Oyster Creek Mayor Justin Miller expressed similar opposition to the project.
Articles and resources
- SPOT Draft Environmental Impact Statement Text, MARAD, Feb. 7, 2020
- Jordan Blum, "Phillips 66, Trafigura Bluewater offshore terminal remains up in the air during pandemic", S&P Global, Jun. 10, 2020
- "As Sea Port Oil Terminal comment period closes, advocates submit tens of thousands of comments opposed", Oil Change International press release, Jun. 1, 2020
- Enterprise Products Makes FID on Texas Offshore Oil Terminal, Maritime Executive, Jul. 31, 2019
- Sergio Chapa, "Enterprise, Enbridge, former competitors, team up in offshore crude oil export terminal race", Houston Chronicle, Dec. 9, 2019
- Sergio Chapa, "Feds suspend review of Enterprise's offshore crude oil export terminal", Houston Chronicle, Jun. 8, 2020