APPROXIMATELY three months after its grand opening, the new multi-modal GT OmniPort terminal in Port Arthur, Texas, is receiving regular unit train shipments of crude oil from as far away as the Bakken shale play in North Dakota. Plans are well underway to add crude oil storage tanks during the first quarter of 2013.
GT Logistics LLC spent approximately $95 million to develop the 1,100-acre state-of-the-art terminal, which officially opened October 16, 2012. The terminal is designed to handle crude oil and other products transported via rail, ship, barge, and truck. Located off Highway 73, and in close proximity to the area refining industry and pipeline network, the terminal is served by the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads and can handle unit trains.
“This is one of the nation's largest projects of its kind in size and scope,” said Timothy DeSpain, GT Logistics principal and president. “The demand for terminal facilities in the Gulf Coast capable of receiving unit trains of crude continues to grow, and we are pleased that GT OmniPort is able to fulfill this need.”
Crude oil unit trains currently are arriving from shipment points in the Bakken shale region, Colorado, and the Midwest. “We're also exploring shipments from South Texas,” says Bart Owens, GT Logistics vice-president. “We're getting about three unit trains a week, some with more than 100 tankcars. “We have capacity to handle more than one unit train a day. We're on track with this project, and we are where we expected to be at this point. We got this facility up and running in about 30 months, which means we really moved quickly.”
Currently, the crude oil is transloaded from the rail tankcar to barges for shipment to various points along the Gulf Coast. GT OmniPort's track layout incorporates a loop system designed to facilitate the efficient receipt and switching of multiple unit trains simultaneously.
Product transfer is through a closed-loop system that includes a thermal oxidizer for destruction of flammable vapors. The crude oil transfer system includes Novaflex wire-wound hoses, Smith Meter meters, Veeder Root registers, Gould pumps, and Triad Controls valve automated valve actuators. Beneath the trackage in the transfer area are spill containment pans from Century Enviropan.
Storage track currently in place can handle up to 250 tankcars. More than 300 acres is available for railcar storage, which gives GT Logistics the ability to store, switch, and transload more than just rail tankcars. The rail terminal site also features a multi-barge receiving dock on Taylor's Bayou. Additional tankcar storage can be added as needed. Land dedicated to this purpose will allow expansion of storage capacity to well over 1,200 railcars.
GT logistics built a state-of-the-art train-to-barge transloading facility at the terminal that is serviced by Union Pacific Railroad. The next phase of the project would be to construct crude oil tank storage and pipeline connections.
“We should start construction of the first four crude oil storage tanks by the end of January, and they should be ready for use in April or May,” Owens says. “Each tank will hold 60,000 barrels of oil.”
GT Logistics also owns and operates a 20-acre deepwater dock and receiving facility on the Sabine Neches Navigation District Channel with more than 900 feet of steel bulkhead improvements and 1,700 feet of waterfront access to the 42-ft channel. The deepwater dock is 2.2 miles from the rail terminal and is connected by rail and highway.