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Oct 15 2020

Two plus two = Competitive edge for TC Energy

Posted by TC Energy

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Houston Tank Terminal expansion project completed

The decision to expand our Houston Tank Terminal from two to four storage tanks is an example of TC Energy meeting our suppliers’ needs today, while anticipating the crude oil market demands of tomorrow.

The two additional tanks that recently opened for business at our Gulf Coast tank terminal gives TC Energy’s Liquids BU and our customers greater flexibility to store and move different grades of oil more quickly and efficiently in the Gulf Coast region.

The project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, despite encountering its fair share of challenges, including hurricane threats and an ongoing pandemic.

“Our entire Liquids’ commercial team did an outstanding job of identifying an opportunity for growth and expansion that meets our suppliers’ transportation and storage needs, while our project team did an excellent job of executing the vision,” said Joe Avery, Vice President of U.S. Field Operations and Liquid Projects.

The Houston Tank Terminal is a major distribution hub for TC Energy that connects our customers’ products arriving on the Keystone and Marketlink Pipeline systems to distribution sites along the Gulf Coast - home to one of the largest concentrations of oil refineries in the world.

Capacity doubled

Houston Tank Terminal doubles storage capacity, expanding from two to four tanks

Flexibility

Expansion gives our customers greater flexibility to store different grades of oil and move oil move quickly and efficiently to Gulf Coast refineries

Ahead of schedule

Project completed ahead of schedule and under budget

The original two tanks were built six years ago with each tank having an approximate storage capacity of 300,000 barrels of crude oil. Several years ago, the decision was made to double our capacity at the terminal, adding two more tanks that can hold approximately the same amount.

“Our customers wanted to have the ability to handle a wider variety of crude oil grades and the addition of two more tanks gives us greater flexibility to meet their demands, allowing us to move crude oil more quickly and efficiently through the terminal with more room available for both incoming and outgoing deliveries,” said Michael Shinn, Commercial Asset Manager, Gulf Coast.

As part of the overall project, TC Energy also constructed an interconnection to a new 36” pipeline that connects our Houston Tank Terminal to the Houston Fuel Oil Terminal Co. (HFOTCO), giving our customers access to over six million barrels of additional crude oil storage and more efficient access to three area refineries, where demand for Canadian crude oil remains high.

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Construction on the two-tank expansion began in May of 2019. In the Gulf Coast, construction crews must be prepared to handle their fair share of extreme weather, including hurricanes, heat, humidity and torrential downpours, said Chris Salyer, Project Manager.

Luckily, none of the hurricanes that hit or threatened the Gulf Coast over the past two years had a major impact on the project, although the various storm systems did dump a lot of rain on the site at times, which was efficiently and safely managed through the terminal’s robust stormwater management system. The biggest challenge the crew faced was not weather but the global pandemic.

“We have dealt with the weather before and we were prepared for hurricanes, but COVID-19 threw our project a curveball. It was a challenge, but our team - with guidance and help from our company’s safety experts - implemented strict guidelines and protocols to keep everyone safe,” said Salyer.

“We were very fortunate. We didn’t have one positive case on the project.”

The two expansion tanks were commissioned and turned over to Liquids Pipeline Control Center in September.

“We are committed to maintaining a competitive edge in the industry by meeting our customers’ needs for reliable and cost-efficient transportation services now and in the future and doing it with a safety record second to none,” said Avery.

The Keystone Pipeline System moves approximately 20 per cent of western Canadian crude oil exported to key refining markets. 

Our existing oil & liquids pipeline infrastructure consists of approximately 4,900 km (3,000 miles) of pipeline, 58 pump stations and 8.85 million barrels of storage, and connects Alberta and U.S. crude oil supplies to U.S. refining markets in Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas and the U.S. Gulf Coast.