Port of Corpus Christi Begins $380 Million Channel Dig to Add 7 More Feet

From the Houston Chronicle

The Port of Corpus Christi has started work on $380 million project to deepen and widen its ship channel to allow for two-way supertanker traffic. The project should be completed in 2022.

Port of Corpus Christi ship channel deepening - Oil & Gas 360

Photo: Port of Corpus Christi

Port officials and community leaders held a Wednesday morning ceremony where dignitaries pulled on levers to signal the beginning of the ambitious dredging project.

Crews with Illinois-based Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. will begin deepening the Corpus Christi Ship Channel to 54 feet from 47 and widen it to 530 feet from 400.

Port of Corpus Christi Chief Executive Sean Strawbridge called the Wednesday morning event a moment more than 20 years in the making. Operators of the South Texas waterway began the federal application and funding process for the project in 1990.

“We are building and enhancing infrastructure and collaborating with new partners as we prepare to accommodate major growth in crude oil production,” he said in a statement.

The Port of Corpus Christi Authority has pledged to provide $100 million of its own money toward the project; the remaining funds will be paid by the federal government over the next few years.

Once completed, the channel will be able to support two-way traffic of supertankers capable of carrying up to 2 million barrels of crude oil and refined products per shipment.

The dredging project comes at a time when supertankers have been successfully tested by various port customers and the Corpus Christi emerges as a top export hub for crude oil and refined products.

Capable of holding up to 1 million barrels of crude oil or refined products, Suezmax tankers will be able to be fully loaded in the widened and deepened channel.

Very Large Crude Carriers, or VLCC tankers, capable of holding 2 million barrels can be partially loaded at facilities along the channel and then fully loaded in deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

From the Port of Corpus Christi

The Corpus Christi Ship Channel extends from the Gulf of Mexico, through the jetties in Port Aransas, Texas and across the Corpus Christi Bay. The channel serves Port Corpus Christi, Harbor Island, Ingleside and extends into the La Quinta Channel.

The current channel has a draft of 47’, authorized and permitted for 54′. Port Corpus Christi has actively taken measures to deepen and widen the ship channel to accommodate larger vessels and enhance efficiencies.

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