EPA Grants Permit for $500 Million Corpus Christi Condensate Splitter

Oil Tanker Leaving Port of Corpus Christi
Oil Tanker Leaving Port of Corpus Christi

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given a subsidiary of Conneticut-based Castleton Commodities International the green light for the construction of new petroleum process facilities near Corpus Christi, TX. The EPA issued the final greenhouse gas and prevention of significant deterioration construction permit to the subsidiary, CCI Corpus Christi, LLC, on Sept. 15th.

The company plans to build two fractionation units, capable of producing a combined 100,000 b/d and a bulk petroleum terminal. The terminal will include storage tanks and barge loading operations that can handle 500,000 barrels a day of crude condensate for export.

Castleton hopes to get some skin in the condensate export game, according to the EPA, but will need additional approval from the federal government. So far, only two companies, Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and Enterprise Product Partners LP, have been authorized to export minimally processed condensate from the Eagle Ford Shale. More than half of all production from play is condensate, which is an ultralight crude oil.

Read more: Oil Exports to Foreign Buyers Begins

In addition to exporting product, Castleton also plans to use the crude condensate to produce diesel, jet fuel, naphtha, and other petroleum products. The project is expected to cost the company $500-million.

Read more at epa.gov

Pioneer CEO Confirms Condensate Exports to Europe

Pioneer Central Gathering Plant
Pioneer Central Gathering Plant

Pioneer Resources CEO Scott Sheffield confirmed this week the company has exported its second round of condensate exports - this time to Europe - during an investor webcast presentation. The first exports were to the Asian market in South Korea in July.

In June, Pioneer and Enterprise Products Partners, a midstream service provider, received permission from the U.S. Commerce Department (U.S. DoC) to export minimally processed condensate to foreign buyers. Other major operators in the Eagle Ford like BHP Billiton have also applied for permits, but have not gotten the nod from the U.S. DoC.

Read more: Eagle Ford's BHP Billiton Seeks to Export Condensate

I expect the commerce department to approve several more permits, primarily for condensate, in the Eagle Ford, as long as it goes through the distillation process. I am optimistic this administration or the next one will remove the export ban.
— Scott Sheffield

he pressure to lift the oil export ban is mounting from other industry executives. This week, Shell's CEO Ben van Beurden urged Barack Obama to lift the ban during a speech he gave at Columbia University.

Would reinforce the long term future of North American energy production, and help make the global energy system more stable.
— Van Beurden on lifting the ban,

Under the oil export ban, refined products can be exported. Pioneer's minimally processed condensate exports are considered a refined product by the U.S. DoC.

Listen to the Pioneer Webcast