U.S. crude oil loaded onto vessels at Corpus Christi, Texas, last week hit an average 1 million barrels per day (MMbbl/d) following the opening of new pipelines from West Texas shale fields, according to consultancy RBN Energy.
Crude pipelines owned by EPIC Midstream and Plains All American Pipeline LP, able to carry up to 1.07 MMbbl/d combined, started operations last month, easing an inland bottleneck by funneling oil to the South Texas export hub.
Last week's record in Corpus Christi was nearly double July's average of 525,000 bbl/d. Nearly half of last week's loadings occurred at Moda Midstream LLC's export terminal in Ingleside, near Corpus Christi, RBN Energy's analysis of vessel-tracking data showed.
Pipeline operators recently have cut tariff rates to the U.S. Gulf Coast, encouraging flows and reducing the spread between Midland and Houston oil prices.
Crude inventories in Corpus Christi recently climbed almost 1 million to 12.7 MMbbl in the week ended Aug. 23, with storage utilization reaching 52%, according to market intelligence firm Genscape.
West Texas crude inventories last week fell by 2 million to 21.3 MMbbl at monitored facilities, Genscape said. Permian Basin output rose to 4.35 MMbbl/d last month from 3.91 MMbbl/d in January, according to U.S. government figures.
Waterborne crude prices in Corpus Christi this week firmed to a $1.20 to $1.50 per bbl discount to Brent crude futures, the global benchmark. That compared with a discount as wide as $2.50 per bbl in early August and July, traders said.
Apache said it would cut 85 people in its Midland, Texas office, while oilfield firm FTS International said it would lay off 35 workers in Fort Worth, Texas and 85 workers in Hobbs, N.M.
Analysts said the most core projects will move forward, while shorter-cycle developments will see the most dramatic investment cuts.
The Environmental Defense Fund has teamed up with industry experts and scholars to launch a methane-detecting satellite within two years, aiming to cut 45% of emissions from oil and gas facilities by 2025.