Louisiana well-positioned to support oil export boom

Louisiana has long been a leader in the American energy industry and continues to play a key role in promoting modern development. The state’s industry has recently been in the spotlight, highlighting the impressive capacity of Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG Export Terminal, the nearly-complete Bayou Bridge Pipeline, and a host of other energy projects that are either underway or have been recently proposed. Louisiana’s role does not end there, however.

The pipeline bottleneck in Texas’ Permian Basin has made national headlines as drillers have been forced to slow production or even shut down wells. But constructing new pipelines is not the entire solution. As a number of pipelines are currently under construction and expected to soon carry record amounts of crude oil from the Permian to refineries, Louisiana can prepare for the next bottleneck: a lack of export terminals. The Wall Street Journal recently reported “congested docks and waterways could hamper export growth and depress regional oil prices.” The article describes the boom of US oil exports and the coming need for new terminals, writing:

Oil exports have been a key release valve for U.S. producers in the three years since Congress lifted a longtime ban on overseas crude sales. Exports topped 2.1 million barrels daily in September and are projected to approach four million barrels within two years, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics.

Existing U.S. shipping terminals are already ill-equipped to handle the growing load, because only one can fully accommodate the giant tankers used to ship oil to Asia and Europe. That has at least four companies, including commodities trader Trafigura Group Pte. Ltd. and pipeline builder Enterprise Products Partners L.P., planning new or expanded terminals to load up the big ships.

Louisiana is already playing an important role with the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, which is deep enough to fully load “Very Large Crude Carriers” (VLCCs), which can hold up to 2 million barrels of oil. However, as the Wall Street Journal reports, this terminal is primarily used for imports. Louisiana should welcome investment in new terminals and expansion. We can do our part by promoting further development in our critical energy infrastructure, including modern, accessible oil export terminals to transport much-needed product to our allies across the globe.