America’s newest energy hub just got a little busier.
NuStar Energy LP (NS:US) officially opened its third petroleum dock at the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas, as Chairman Bill Greehey smashed a bottle of champagne against a loading arm that was filling a barge with crude.
NuStar and other companies are building docks, storage tanks and other facilities in Corpus Christi to take advantage of the oil boom in the Eagle Ford shale formation 100 miles away. The port shipped out 350,000 barrels of crude a day in November, up from under 10,000 at the start of 2012, according to port data.
“It’s a historic time right now for our port,” said Frank Brogan, managing director for the city’s port authority. “I’ve been here 27 years, and we’ve had more activity in the last two years than in the previous 25 combined.”
The new activity is putting pressure on the port’s infrastructure. When tankers used to leave the port empty, they could pass full incoming tankers without a problem. Now only one tanker is allowed to travel the ship channel at a time. Pilots are also restricted to daylight operations. Without the restrictions the port could move up to 30 percent more cargo, Brogan said.