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.
Greenfield projects like the Northeast gas pipe are too risky at the moment, the company says.
At DUG Bakken and Rockies, shale executives acknowledged the headwinds, but remained optimistic about the opportunities in the Powder River Basin, the Bakken and, yes, even Colorado.
David T. Merrill has been elected to serve as CEO and president of Unit Corp., which is engaged through its subsidiaries in E&P, contract drilling and gas gathering and processing.