THE PORT OF COR­PUS CHRISTI, TEXAS,

The Bond Buyer - - Front Page - By richard Wil­liamson

the largest en­ergy ex­port sea­port in the U.S., will part­ner with the Car­lyle Group to fi­nance the first on­shore site in the U.S. Gulf ca­pa­ble of ser­vic­ing fully-laden Very Large Crude Car­ri­ers . . . . . . . . . . .

DAL­LAS – The Port of Cor­pus Christi, Texas, the largest en­ergy ex­port sea­port in the U.S., will part­ner with the Car­lyle Group to fi­nance the first on­shore site in the U.S. Gulf ca­pa­ble of ser­vic­ing fully-laden Very Large Crude Car­ri­ers.

The $1.2 bil­lion deal in­cludes fi­nanc­ing for dredg­ing the port ship chan­nel to a depth of 75 feet and helps the port com­pete with off­shore oil ex­port fa­cil­i­ties in op­er­a­tion or planned in the Gulf of Mex­ico.

In July, the port is­sued $200 mil­lion of rev­enue bonds for its Chan­nel Im­prove­ment Project, which is await­ing funds from the U.S. Army Corps of En­gi­neers. To ser­vice the large tanker ves­sels, the port needs to deepen its chan­nel from the cur­rent 45 feet.

Con­struc­tion of the new ter­mi­nal on Har­bor Is­land in Cor­pus Christi Bay would re­quire no cap­i­tal out­lay from lo­cal tax­pay­ers, of­fi­cials said. A port spokesman, asked if any pri­vate ac­tiv­ity bonds might be used, de­ferred ques­tions to the Car­lyle Group, which had not re­sponded as of mid-day Tues­day.

Un­der the agree­ment, the port will re­ceive reg­u­lar rental pay­ments, vol­ume-based tar­iff in­come, land grants and other pro­ceeds that will help the port fund other as­pects of its op­er­a­tions.

The ter­mi­nal is ex­pected to be op­er­a­tional in late 2020. Car­lyle’s eq­uity for this in­vest­ment will come from its Global In­fra­struc­ture Fund.

The ter­mi­nal would in­clude the de­vel­op­ment of at least two load­ing docks on Har­bor Is­land as well as crude oil tank stor­age in­land across Red­fish Bay on land se­cured by Car­lyle.

The project is sub­ject to agree­ment on de­fin­i­tive doc­u­men­ta­tion be­tween the par­ties, sat­is­fac­tory com­ple­tion of due dili­gence and fi­nal ap­proval from Car­lyle’s in­vest­ment com­mit­tee, of­fi­cials said.

“A project of this mag­ni­tude fur­ther un­der­scores the vi­tal role the Port of Cor­pus Christi plays in the global en­ergy mar­kets and as an im­por­tant eco­nomic gen­er­a­tor for the great state of Texas,” said Sean Straw­bridge, its chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

“Cor­pus Christi is cer­tainly where the in­cre­men­tal bar­rels want to go as we have deep wa­ter, avail­abil­ity of land for de­vel­op­ment and plenty of ca­pac­ity to ab­sorb the fore­casted U.S. en­ergy pro­duc­tion growth in oil and gas. Cor­pus Christi is open for busi­ness,” said Char­lie Zahn, chair­man of the Port of Cor­pus Christi Com­mis­sion.

Fer­ris Hussein, manag­ing di­rec­tor on Car­lyle’s Global In­fra­struc­ture team, de­scribed the project as hav­ing “crit­i­cal im­por­tance to the United States, and we will col­lab­o­rate with all stake­hold­ers to en­sure such ser­vice is pro­vided.”

In Au­gust, Trafigura U.S. Inc., a pri­vately held phys­i­cal trad­ing and lo­gis­tics com­pany with of­fices in Hous­ton, an­nounced plans to build a new off­shore deep­wa­ter port fa­cil­ity in the Gulf of Mex­ico to be called the Texas Gulf Ter­mi­nals Project.

The Trafigura fa­cil­ity would al­low VLCCs — ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing 2 mil­lion bar­rels of crude oil — to be fully loaded through a sin­gle-point moor­ing buoy sys­tem. It would be moored about 15 miles off­shore from Cor­pus Christi. ◽

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