Pipeline operator Energy Transfer expects to receive a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for its Blue Marlin offshore terminal this quarter, executives said on May 8 during a quarterly earnings call.

Energy Transfer is among several firms vying to build deepwater ports along the Texas Gulf Coast in a bet on rising U.S. crude production and growing exports. U.S. crude exports totaled 4.5 MMbbl last week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The Dallas, Texas-based company anticipates receiving a license for the terminal within a year of the EIS. Rival Enterprise Products Partners in April became the first company to receive a license for such a project from the U.S. maritime regulator.

Energy Transfer's transported oil volumes grew by 44% during the first quarter to 6.1 MMbbl/d, in part due to acquisitions, the company said on May 8.

Its oil terminal volumes were up 10% to 3.2 million bpd due stronger Gulf Coast refinery utilization, output growth in the Permian and North Dakota's Bakken Shale, and acquisitions.

The company said it would continue to evaluate acquisition opportunities going forward.

"Consolidation makes sense in the midstream space," said co-CEO Tom Long, adding "We're not going to slow down on that front."