CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It was an important day for a company in Ingleside, Texas, as they christened the first oil terminal to handle very large crude carriers, or VLCC.
It's the largest oil tanker to ever use the Port of Corpus Christi.
Friday's ceremony was held in front of the biggest ship able to come into Corpus Christi Bay to transport oil from the Eagle Ford Shale and the Permian Basin.
Moda Midstream bought the old U.S. Naval facility, which had been turned into an oil exporting facility under the ownership of Occidental Petroleum, last August. It was christened Berth 2-A Friday and will handle the VLCC tankers.
"This vessel behind us, the ARL, is the 4th vessel that we've loaded -- VLCC that we've loaded -- in the last month," Moda Midstream CEO Bo McCall said. "This class of vessel historically does not traverse the inner ports of the U.S. Gulf Coast, but Ingleside is very special. With the modifications we've made to our facility, we're honored to continue the legacy of bringing in big ships."
McCall said the facility is a huge investment and will eventually be connected to oil lines direct from the Permian Basic and the Eagle Ford Shale.
The company also announced that in addition to the six oil tanks already there, the company is adding 19 more, which will increase storage capacity to 12-million barrels of oil. That should be complete by late next year.
"We're spending approximately $300-500 million," McCall said. "That's on tanks. That's on inter-terminal pipelines as well as modifications to the dock."
Several Coastal Bend officials shared the stage Friday to welcome Moda's investment.
"Being here today, we are witnessing the continuation of a new era for our Port," Port Commissioner Charlie Zahn said.
"This is a phenomenal facility," San Patricio County Judge David Krebs said. "It's making the Coastal Bend region -- the petrochemical world is right here, right now, and it's happening here at our back door."
While Moda employs 50 permanent employees and 200 permanent subcontractors, there are an additional 300 contractors working on the 19 new oil tanks, which will hold 500,000 barrels of oil each.
Officials said once the dredging in the ship channel is complete, Moda will be able to fill the VLCCs to capacity so they do not have to travel 25 miles offshore to wait for smaller ships to finish the oil loading.