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Port of Corpus Christi sends letter to Trump

Dredging the Corpus Christi Ship Channel to 530 feet wide and 54 feet deep will allow safe passage of supermax vessels. Within five years, the Harbor Bridge will be replaced with a taller version, allowing for cruise ships. Courtesy photo

A recent letter asking President Donald Trump to include the Port of Christi’s Channel Improvement Project in the 2019 budget was signed by the CEOs of six of the nation’s top energy companies. The letter, which requests funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the channel to enable bigger ships into port, was signed Jan. 30, the day of the president’s first State of the Union address.

Asking that the president include $60 million for the project were CEOs from Occidental Petroleum Corp., NuStar Energy L.P., Buckeye Partners L.P., Howard Energy Partners, Plains All American Pipeline and Cheniere Energy Inc.

“Funding the Channel Improvement Project is an opportunity to invest in a national transportation asset that would allow our U.S. companies and the port to significantly increase our export capacity and help solidify the U.S. as a world energy leader,” reads the letter.

Port of Corpus Christi CEO Sean Strawbridge wrote the lead-in to the group plea, pointing out that the project has widespread bipartisan support.

“As the gateway to the global markets, Port Corpus Christi must ensure the infrastructure it oversees, namely the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, is capable of transporting safely and competitively the anticipated increased export volumes of crude oil, natural gas, and other petroleum products,” said Strawbridge in his letter, which topped the CEOs’ missive. “At the center of the emergence of the United States as a dominant player in the global energy market is the Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project.”

The Port of Corpus Christi is the largest export port of U.S.-produced crude oil and is a major export hub for U.S. energy products. It is the fourth-largest port in the nation in terms of tonnage. According to Energy Analysts International, the port exported more than $6 billion of crude oil to U.S. trading partners in 2017.

“Once completed, this economically and strategically vital infrastructure project will undoubtedly position the United States as the most energy-dominant player in the world,” continues the letter from Strawbridge. “We are confident you will find this project the most worthy of funding of all U.S coastal navigation construction projects in the Nation.”

The project would widen the channel to 530 feet and deepen it to 54 feet for safe passage of deep draft vessels.

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