HOUSTON—JupiterMLP LLC, one of several companies proposing to build oil export terminals along the U.S. Gulf Coast, has secured new financial backing from a global private equity firm, an executive said on Feb. 28, even as it faces two separate lawsuits, including one for breach of contract.
Last October, Jupiter said it had secured financing to build a 650-mile oil pipeline from West Texas to the Gulf Coast. It has also proposed an export terminal near Brownsville, in South Texas. Charon System Advisors agreed to fund the pipeline construction, it said at the time.
It has since been sued by Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY), which claimed a JupiterMLP affiliate “continues to hold on to millions of dollars that belong to Occidental” despite a promise to pay the money from an expected financing, according to a Feb. 12 lawsuit filed in Harris County district court.
Macquarie Group Ltd. separately sued in January for breach of contract seeking $17.4 million for a storage contract termination and for unpaid bills for crude oil sales.
Spokespeople for Occidental and Macquarie declined to comment on the lawsuits.
Albert Johnson, president of Jupiter Pipeline, declined in an interview this week to comment on the disputes. However, he said the company has “secured a large equity commitment from a global private equity firm,” but declined to identify the investor or disclose the amount of the commitment.
“I know the rumors in the market,” Johnson said. “‘It’s an expensive project. Where are they going to get the money?’”
“We have that commitment in hand,” he said, adding Charon is “still there and able to participate” in the equity investment.
Charon did not respond to requests for comment.
Addison, Texas-based Jupiter on Feb. 28 extended the deadline for shippers to book space on its proposed pipeline to the Port of Brownsville. The extension, to May 31, will allow more time for companies to review pipeline contracts, Johnson said.
“The downside of an export terminal there is there’s only going to be one pipeline going to Brownsville,” said Sandy Fielden, an analyst at Morningstar. “Is there enough crude coming that way to justify the project? There are very limited options there.”
The pipeline is projected to be in operation beginning in fourth-quarter 2020, the company said this week. It plans to apply for permits to build an offshore terminal with operations projected to begin in second-quarter 2021.
Oil and gas producer Apache said on April 23 it would delay natural gas production from its Alpine High assets in the Permian Basin due to "extremely" low prices.
Construction would start this year, with the plant beginning operations in 2023.
Negotiations with three companies includes joint operation of a crude pipeline from Houston to Corpus Christi.