Energy & Environment

Swiss Company’s Oil Export Plans Could Threaten Corpus Christi’s Port Expansion

Corpus Christi wants to further dominate the oil export market, but a Swiss company’s plans could pose obstacles.

An aerial view of Corpus Christi’s major port.

A Swiss company’s plans to export American oil could mean millions in lost revenue for the Port of Corpus Christi, and port officials are now challenging their new rival.

The port is the nation’s largest oil exporter, and it wants to further dominate the market with a ship channel expansion to make room for huge tanker ships.

Enter Switzerland competitor Trafigura. 

A subsidiary of the company called Texas Gulf Terminals is planning a nearby facility that could be built before the port expansion is finished.

Analyst Sandy Fielden with the research firm Morningstar says the rival project could provide oil companies a cheaper, quicker alternative to send their product abroad.

“If you have the option available to use the Trafigura pipeline and their port, and you don’t have to go through and pay the dock fees through Corpus, then all other things being equal, you’re going to go down that route,” he said.

Fielden added the competition could eat away at up to 12 percent of the Corpus port’s revenue.

It’s not clear if that would totally derail the port expansion, but port officials are nonetheless formally objecting to the Swiss project, and asking the federal government to block it.

A Trafigura spokesperson said the company is continuing to work with federal and state agencies on the permitting process.

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Travis Bubenik

Travis Bubenik

Energy & Environment Reporter

Travis Bubenik reports on the tangled intersections of energy and the environment in Houston and across Texas. A Houston native and proud Longhorn, he returned to the Bayou City after serving as the Morning Edition Host & Reporter for Marfa Public Radio in Far West Texas. Bubenik was previously the...

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