EPA cancels permit for proposed offshore oil export terminal in Gulf of Mexico

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revoked the permit for a proposed 1.92m bpd offshore oil export terminal in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Corpus Christi, Texas.

The Bluewater deepwater oil export terminal is being developed by Phillips 66 and Trafigura and would be situated about15nm off the coast. When completed it would enable up to two VLCCs to load domestically produced crude oil, via single point mooring (SPM) buoys, for export to overseas markets.

The facility was expected to service about16 VLCCs per month, equivalent to 384m barrels per year.

Bluewater Texas Terminals LLC applied for a Clean Air Act permit from the EPA in May 2019. It subsequently received a pollution control licence that allowed it to emit almost 19,000 tons per year of Volatile Organic Compounds and 833 tons per year of hazardous air pollutants.

However, during a public comment period on the project the EPA received arguments from environmental groups, which argued for more stringent pollution controls.

The EPA revoked the licence on September 1st.It has now directed the developer to withdraw its applications by September 15th and to submit a revised proposal that would reduce pollutants by at least 95%.

Bluewater Texas Terminals LLC also has a pending application for the terminal with the US Maritime Administration’s Deepwater Port Licensing Programme. It is one of five proposed offshore oil export terminals off Texas with current pending applications with the programme.