WHAT ARE THE FACTORS DRIVING THE PROPOSED PROJECT?
The current channel depth does not allow crude carriers to depart fully loaded from the Port. As a result, Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) either:
- Enter the Port and depart lightly loaded along with other, smaller ships that temporarily hold and move additional cargo or,
- Remain offshore while smaller tankers enter the Port, load cargo, then exit the Port.
In either scenario, smaller ships must transfer their cargo to the larger VLCC in open water. This process is known as reverse lightering.
Reverse lightering significantly increases the potential for collisions, oil spills, or fires. It also leads to increased air emissions from multiple ships completing a job that could be done by only one ship in less time.
Channel deepening would reduce adverse environmental and safety impacts from reverse lightering activities.
Reverse Lightering – Existing Operations
Increased emissions overall due to number of vessels required and crude transfer outside of Port where vapors are not captured.
Elimination of Reverse Lightering
Reduced emissions overall due to reduction in number of vessels required and elimination of crude transfer outside of Port.
A trade balance is the sum of a nation’s exports (+) and imports (-). When a country imports more than it exports, it is called a trade deficit.
Long term deficits are generally considered negative.
Since 1975, the U.S. has had a trade deficit, with a major hike occurring from 1997-2000. Since then, it has continued to widen.
Maximizing crude oil exports would contribute to decreasing the national trade deficit and help restore trade balance.