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West and Midwest. Ample truck, rail and air connections allow shippers to economically transport their goods between Port Houston and inland points. The port is vital to the local, state and national economy and the maintenance and improvements of the public facilities ensures its continued economic impacts. Keeping the port secure so that business can flow freely is also an essential responsibility.
As the local sponsor of the Houston Ship Channel, the Port Authority plays an important role in the management and environmental stewardship of this important waterway. Subscribe to our Publications:. Port Houston. Around people are working here at any time, not including support contractors, with half that number at the plant during weekend night shifts.
But in the control room, it all comes into focus. Wide windows afford a view of the entire operation. What Aziz and company cannot see they monitor with sensors and live video. A nearby white panel is decorated with green lights that indicate normal operations. Last year witnessed mind-bending gains in gas production in the United States, which jumped 12 percent in to a record Energy Information Administration. Meanwhile, domestic consumption reached What to do with the excess seems clear: sell it to whomever wants to buy it.
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That would have been an impossibility just a few years ago, but Congress in changed a Nixon-era regulation that prevented exports of natural gas. Moving LNG around the world was suddenly possible. This action may have changed the game, but American energy companies still had a problem. Cheniere was among the first to dive in, shamelessly starting a campaign to poach the most experienced LNG operators in the world and bring them to the coastal bend of Texas. At the docks at Ingleside, a cold front has changed the wind direction from its usual southeast direction, making this already unfamiliar procedure even trickier.
Monaco has to bend over at the waist just to speak and to hear the radio over the wind. The Chinese captain stands with him and dispatches an officer to fetch a thick blue jacket to ward off the cold. From the deck, things appear to be smooth. The only surface sign of the power involved in this clash is the column of white, churning water behind the VLCC and each of the four heaving tugboats. The ship can go forward and reverse, but needs the tugs to make lateral movements.
One such ship is pulling the tanker toward the dock. Pointing and speaking loudly, Monaco tells the captain to have his deck crew release the lines. A half-dozen figures in one-piece work suits and hard hats appear on deck, working the ropes. The freed tug slides easily past the narrowing gap between the aft of the ship and the pier.
The U. For the first time since , when figures began to be tallied, the United States exported more barrels in a single week , barrels per day for the week of November 30 than it imported. The EIA says these sales will continue as crude production increases and U. Mega-tankers like the Spirit are harbingers of this historic comeback. But they are useless without pipelines to bring the crude to the coast for shipment. Pipelines are starting to come online this year and a rush of crude is heading toward the Gulf Coast for export. Along those racing to put pipelines and piers in place to move American crude oil, there is a competition among cities vying for the big ship traffic that will carry it away.
They brought the coast to Houston by digging out a mile-long ditch.
Corps of Engineers, who in early was awarded the first contract. A new competitor making a bid for VLCC traffic is offshore export facilities that would bypass ports entirely. Such offshore sites could store crude on shore and then pump it 15 miles offshore, where the deep water allows large ships to fill up. Environmentalists decry the method as overly risky, and regulatory permitting for these projects is a bruising process. And yet, last August Enterprise Products Partners announced plans to build such a massive offshore oil-exporting terminal south of Galveston.
The company says the deepwater terminal will have flow rates of up to 60, barrels per hour and the capacity to load eight VLCCs per month. Maybe But such advantages get amplified by the economies of scale that make the entire oil trade profitable. The truth is that, without scaling up the facilities along the American coastlines, the nation cannot compete as a major exporter.
Port of Houston invests in container terminals - FreightWaves
Such economics explain why VLCCs are so big. The difference will hardly cover the cost of shipping American crude all the way to Asia or Europe. Using bigger ships means selling each barrel at a lower price, and in this game every dollar counts. The transformation of South Texas is a staggering lesson in economy of scale. Everything that is happening is predicated on the oil fields staying productive and the new, permitted pipelines opening as expected.
There's no reason for us to build more docks if there's no more volume coming our way. We're expecting 2.
A flare stack is the long chimneys tipped with flickering flames of burning gas that have become the signature visual of oil refineries. The flare stack is the kind of eyesore that raises the ire of locals.
ILA, USMX urge Texas to reject Houston ship limitation
Strawbridge and others with the port now find themselves as the buffer between that community and the developers like Cheniere trying to build a new energy coast. On the one hand, newly worded lease agreements give the Port more leverage over tenants, and more abilities to intercede on behalf of concerned citizens. On the other, the land the Port owns is zoned industrial, so there are few legal steps to stop any construction.
And with no obstacles, Cheniere could charge forward. One of its huge processing units is already finished and producing million cubic feet of sellable natural gas per day, and the place is a sight to behold. Natural gas comes in through a single pipeline before compressors drive it through a Rube Goldberg network of towering pipes, which cleans particulates and sulfides out of the gas.