Vitol behind VLCC to light-load at Enterprise Texas City dock: sources

Vitol has chartered the tanker FPMC C MELODY to load at least 1.1 million barrels of crude oil at Enterprise Products’ Texas City dock on the Houston Ship Channel, according to market sources, the first time crude was loaded onto a VLCC there.

Enterprise leases the Texas City docks from the Port of Texas City as part of its Seaway system. The dock is a single pier that extends over 1,000 feet and has a draft of 45 feet, the company has said.

An Enterprise executive said earlier this month a second VLCC would arrive in the third week of June with a target of loading 1.2 million-1.3 million barrels once the company struck a deal with a trading company. VLCCs typically hold about 2 million barrels.

Simultaneously, Enterprise will also load an Aframax with the remaining 700,000-800,000 barrels and tow out both vessels to the lightering zone in the Gulf of Mexico, where crude from the Aframax will be transferred to the VLCC for exports, the executive said at the time.

An Enterprise investor presentation posted to its website Tuesday listed the FPMC C MELODY as the VLCC that would load about 1.1 million barrels while the “[r]emaining crude oil to be transferred to VLCC in the lightering zone.”

Market sources identified the trading company as Vitol. Vitol declined to comment.

Enterprise spokesman Rick Rainey declined to comment beyond what the executive said earlier in June.

“Our role as operator of the dock is to work closely with the customer that is chartering the ship on scheduling and logistics matters, as well as ensuring appropriate safety procedures are in place and implemented properly,” he said Tuesday.

Platts trade flow software cFlow on Tuesday showed the FPMC C MELODY stationary off Galveston Island with no set destination. Recent inclement weather in the region is said to have delayed the VLCC’s journey to Texas City.

In late April, Enterprise brought in VLCC Nave Quasar to test its loading arms and water depth at the port to determine up to what level it could load the super tanker. A VLCC requires water depth of at least 73 feet for full loading.

Source: Platts

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