Millions of dollars in additional federal money may soon flow to the Port of Corpus Christi’s project to widen and deepen its ship channel to allow tankers to leave the port with larger loads of crude from Texas oil fields.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said another $23 million has been added to the corps’ 2018 work plan for the Port of Corpus Christi’s ongoing $327 million channel deepening project.
The project is important to the state’s oil industry, which is producing record amounts of crude and exporting an increasing share of it. In 2017, the Port of Corpus Christi exported over 300,000 barrels of crude oil a day, an increase more than triple the 83,500 barrels a day exported in 2016.
The project, when completed, would allow the port to bring in and fully load larger crude oil tankers, further boosting the port’s status as a leading crude oil exporter. Some of the largest crude oil tankers — the one million barrel Suezmax and 2 million barrel VLCCs — are only able to partially load in the port. They then finish loading in the Gulf of Mexico.
The additional money comes on top of $13 million that was approved in the Trump Administration’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget for the corps.
“As evidence of our positive working relationship with the Army Corps of Engineers, their 2018 Work Plan further moves our most important critical infrastructure project to fruition and will ultimately increase exports of American energy to our allies and trading partners around the world,” said the port’s CEO Sean Strawbridge.
The channel deepening and widening project has been delayed for years and, when complete, will widen and deepen most of the channel to 530 feet wide and 54 feet deep.