Deepwater Port License Application: Texas GulfLink LLC (Texas GulfLink)

Cited as:84 FR 30298
Court:Maritime Administration
Publication Date:26 Jun 2019
Record Number:2019-13638
Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 123 (Wednesday, June 26, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 123 (Wednesday, June 26, 2019)]
                [Pages 30298-30300]
                From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office []
                [FR Doc No: 2019-13638]
                Maritime Administration
                [Docket No. MARAD-2019-0093]
                Deepwater Port License Application: Texas GulfLink LLC (Texas
                AGENCY: Maritime Administration, Department of Transportation.
                ACTION: Notice of application.
                SUMMARY: The Maritime Administration (MARAD) and the U.S. Coast Guard
                (USCG) announce they have received an application for the licensing of
                a deepwater port and that the application contains information
                sufficient to commence processing. This notice summarizes the
                applicant's plans and the procedures that will be followed in
                considering the application.
                DATES: The Deepwater Port Act of 1974, as amended, requires at least
                one public hearing on this application to be held in the designated
                Adjacent Coastal State(s) not later than 240 days after publication of
                this notice, and a decision on the application not later than 90 days
                after the final public hearing(s).
                ADDRESSES: The public docket for the Texas GulfLink deepwater port
                license application is maintained by the U.S. Department of
                Transportation, Docket Management Facility, West Building, Ground
                Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.
                The license application is available for viewing at the
                website: under docket number MARAD-2019-
                    We encourage you to submit comments electronically through the
                Federal eRulemaking Portal at If you submit
                your comments electronically, it is not necessary to also submit a hard
                copy. If you cannot submit material using,
                please contact either Mr. Patrick Clark, USCG or Ms. Yvette Fields,
                MARAD, as listed in the following FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
                section of this document. This section provides alternate instructions
                for submitting written comments. Additionally, if you go to the online
                docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments
                are posted. Anonymous comments will be accepted. All comments received
                will be posted without change to and will
                include any personal information you have provided. The Federal Docket
                Management Facility's telephone number is 202-366-9317 or 202-366-9826,
                the fax number is 202-493-2251.
                FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Patrick Clark, U.S. Coast Guard,
                telephone: 202-372-1358, email: [email protected], or Ms. Yvette
                Fields, Maritime Administration, telephone: 202-366-0926, email:
                [email protected]. For questions regarding viewing the Docket, call
                Docket Operations, telephone: 202-366-9317 or 202-366-9826.
                Receipt of Application
                    On May 30, 2019, MARAD and USCG received an application from Texas
                GulfLink for all Federal authorizations required for a license to own,
                construct, and operate a deepwater port for the export of oil as
                authorized by the Deepwater Port Act of 1974, as amended, 33 U.S.C.
                1501 et seq. (the Act), and implemented under 33 Code of Federal
                Regulations (CFR) parts 148, 149, and 150. After a coordinated
                completeness review by MARAD, the USCG, and other cooperating Federal
                agencies, the application is deemed complete and contains information
                sufficient to initiate processing.
                    The Act defines a deepwater port as any fixed or floating manmade
                structure other than a vessel, or any group of such structures, that
                are located beyond State seaward boundaries and used or intended for
                use as a port or terminal for the transportation, storage, and further
                handling of oil or natural gas for transportation to, or from, any
                State. A deepwater port includes all components and equipment,
                including pipelines, pumping or compressor stations, service platforms,
                buoys, mooring lines, and similar facilities that are proposed as part
                of a deepwater port to the extent they are located seaward of the high-
                water mark.
                    The Secretary of Transportation delegated to the Maritime
                Administrator authorities related to licensing deepwater ports (49 CFR
                1.93(h)). Statutory and regulatory requirements for processing
                applications and licensing appear in 33 U.S.C. 1501 et seq. and 33 CFR
                part 148. Under delegations from, and agreements between, the Secretary
                of Transportation and the Secretary of Homeland Security, applications
                are jointly processed by MARAD and USCG. Each application is considered
                on its merits.
                    In accordance with 33 U.S.C. 1504(f) for all applications, MARAD
                and the USCG, working in cooperation with other involved Federal
                agencies and departments, shall comply with the requirements of the
                National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et
                seq.). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Army
                Corps of Engineers (USACE), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
                Administration (NOAA), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM),
                the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), and the
                Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), among
                others, participate in the processing of deepwater port applications
                and assist in the NEPA process as described in 40 CFR 1501.6. Each
                agency may participate in scoping and/or other public meeting(s); and
                may incorporate the MARAD/USCG environmental impact review for purposes
                of their jurisdictional permitting processes, to the extent applicable.
                Comments related to this deepwater port application addressed to the
                EPA, USACE, or other federal agencies should note the federal docket
                number, MARAD-2019-0093. Each comment will be incorporated into the
                Department of Transportation (DOT) docket and considered as the
                environmental impact analysis is developed to ensure consistency with
                the NEPA process.
                    All connected actions, permits, approvals and authorizations will
                be considered during the processing of the Texas GulfLink deepwater
                port license application.
                    MARAD, in issuing this Notice of Application pursuant to 33 U.S.C.
                1504(c), must designate as an ``Adjacent Coastal State'' any coastal
                state which (A) would be directly connected by pipeline to a deepwater
                port as proposed in an application, or (B) would be located within 15
                nautical miles of any such proposed deepwater port (see 33 U.S.C.
                1508(a)(1)). Pursuant to the criteria provided in the Act, Texas is the
                designated Adjacent Coastal State for this application. Other states
                may request from the Maritime Administrator designation as an Adjacent
                Coastal State in accordance with 33 U.S.C. 1508(a)(2).
                    The Act directs that at least one public hearing take place in each
                Adjacent Coastal State, in this case, Texas. Additional public meetings
                [[Page 30299]]
                be conducted to solicit comments for the environmental analysis to
                include public scoping meetings, or meetings to discuss the Draft and
                Final environmental impact documents prepared in accordance with NEPA.
                    MARAD, in coordination with the USCG, will publish additional
                Federal Register notices with information regarding these public
                meeting(s) and hearing(s) and other procedural milestones, including
                the NEPA environmental impact review. The Maritime Administrator's
                decision, and other key documents, will be filed in the public docket
                for the application at docket number MARAD-2019-0093.
                    The Deepwater Port Act imposes a strict timeline for processing an
                application. When MARAD and USCG determine that an application is
                complete (i.e., contains information sufficient to commence
                processing), the Act directs that all public hearings on the
                application be concluded within 240 days from the date the Notice of
                Application is published.
                    Within 45 days after the final hearing, the Governor of the
                Adjacent Costal State, in this case the Governor of Texas, may notify
                MARAD of their approval, approval with conditions, or disapproval of
                the application. If such approval, approval with conditions, or
                disapproval is not provided to the Maritime Administrator by that time,
                approval shall be conclusively presumed. MARAD may not issue a license
                without the explicit or presumptive approval of the Governor of the
                Adjacent Coastal State. During this 45-day period, the Governor may
                also notify MARAD of inconsistencies between the application and State
                programs relating to environmental protection, land and water use, and
                coastal zone management. In this case, MARAD may condition the license
                to make it consistent with such state programs (33 U.S.C. 1508(b)(1)).
                MARAD will not consider written approvals or disapprovals of the
                application from the Governor of the Adjacent Coastal State until after
                the final public hearing is complete and the 45-day period commences
                following the publication of the Final Environmental Impact Statement.
                    The Maritime Administrator must render a decision on the
                application within 90 days after the final hearing.
                    In accordance with 33 U.S.C. 1504(d), MARAD is required to
                designate an application area for a deepwater port application intended
                to transport oil. Under section 1504(d)(2), MARAD has the discretion to
                establish a reasonable application area constituting the geographic
                area in which only one deepwater port may be constructed and operated.
                MARAD has consulted with USCG in developing Texas GulfLink's
                application area and designates an application area encompassing the
                deepwater port that is a circle having a radius of no less than three
                and one-half (3.50) nautical miles centered at Texas GulfLink's
                proposed platform, latitude N 28[deg]32'44'' and longitude W
                    Based on a review the Deepwater Port Act and its legislative
                history, MARAD has determined that for the purpose of establishing
                application areas, Congress focused on the circular area surrounding a
                deepwater port's principal point of loading and unloading. While MARAD
                had initially included pipelines within the application areas of recent
                projects, MARAD has determined that the areas, consistent with
                Congressional intent, can and should be limited to the circular zones
                surrounding the unloading and loading points. MARAD will notify the
                applicants for the SPOT Terminal Services LLC (SPOT) [Docket No. MARAD-
                2019-0011] and Texas COLT LLC (COLT) [Docket No. MARAD-2019-0012]
                projects that the application areas for those projects will be adjusted
                    Any person interested in applying for the ownership, construction,
                and operation of a deepwater port within this designated application
                area must file with MARAD (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) a
                notice of intent to file an application for the construction and
                operation of a deepwater port not later than 60 days after the date of
                publication of this notice, and shall submit a completed application no
                later than 90 days after publication of this notice.
                    Should a favorable record of decision be rendered and license be
                issued, MARAD may include specific conditions related to design,
                construction, operations, environmental permitting, monitoring and
                mitigations, and financial responsibilities. If a license is issued,
                USCG in coordination with other agencies as appropriate, would review
                and approve the deepwater port's engineering, design, and construction;
                operations/security procedures; waterways management and regulated
                navigation areas; maritime safety and security requirements; risk
                assessment; and compliance with domestic and international laws and
                regulations for vessels that may call on the port. The deepwater port
                would be designed, constructed and operated in accordance with
                applicable codes and standards.
                    In addition, installation of pipelines and other structures may
                require permits under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10
                of the Rivers and Harbors Act, which are administered by the USACE.
                    Permits from the EPA may also be required pursuant to the
                provisions of the Clean Air Act, as amended, and the Clean Water Act,
                as amended.
                Summary of the Application
                    Texas GulfLink is proposing to construct, own, and operate a
                deepwater port terminal in the Gulf of Mexico to export domestically
                produced crude oil. Use of the DWP would include the loading of various
                grades of crude oil at flow rates of up to 85,000 barrels per hour
                (bph). At full operating capacity, fifteen Very Large Crude Carrier
                (VLCC) vessels (or equivalent volumes) would be loaded per month from
                the proposed deepwater port for a total of 1 million barrels per day.
                VLCCs can carry cargos of approximately 2 million barrels of oil.
                Loading of one VLCC vessel is expected to take 33 hours.
                    The overall project would consist of offshore components as well as
                onshore components. The GulfLink deepwater port offshore and marine
                components would consist of the following:
                     Texas GulfLink Offshore Metering Platform and Control
                Platform: Two (2) fixed offshore platforms with piles in Outer
                Continental Shelf Galveston Area Lease Block 423, approximately 28.3
                nautical miles off the coast of Freeport, Texas in a water depth of
                approximately 104 feet. The fixed offshore platform would be comprised
                of a metering platform and a control platform. The Control Platform
                will contain personnel living quarters, a helideck and a vessel traffic
                controller control room, utilizing a state-of-the-art radar system to
                monitor the port on a 24-hour basis. The Metering Platform will
                contain: Generators, pig receivers, lease automatic custody transfer
                (LACT) unit, oil displacement prover loop, sampling pot, radar tower,
                electrical and instrumentation building, portal cranes, and a crane.
                Each platform will have three levels with the upper level at a 109-foot
                elevation, the midlevel at 84 feet, and the lower level at 69 feet.
                     One (1) 42-inch outside diameter, 28.3-nautical-mile
                (32.57 statute mile) long crude oil pipeline would be constructed from
                the shoreline crossing in Brazoria County, Texas, to the GulfLink
                deepwater port for crude oil delivery. This pipeline would connect the
                onshore Jones Creek Terminal described below to the offshore Texas
                GulfLink deepwater port.
                     The platform is connected to VLCC tankers for loading by
                two (2) separate 42-inch diameter departing pipelines. Each pipeline
                will depart the offshore
                [[Page 30300]]
                platform, carrying the oil to a Pipeline End Manifold (PLEM) in
                approximately 104 feet water depth located 1.25 nautical miles (1.43
                statute miles) from the offshore platform. Each PLEM is then connected
                through two (2) 24-inch hoses to a Single Point Mooring (SPM) Buoy. Two
                24-inch floating loading hoses will connect the SPM Buoy to the VLCC or
                other crude oil carrier. SPM Buoy 1 is in Outer Continental Shelf
                Galveston Area Lease Block 423 and SPM Buoy is in Outer Continental
                Shelf Galveston Area Lease Block A36.
                    The Texas GulfLink deepwater port onshore storage and supply
                components would consist of the following:
                     Texas GulfLink Onshore Storage Terminal: The proposed
                Jones Creek Terminal would be located in Brazoria County, Texas, on
                approximately 200 acres of land consisting of eight (8) above ground
                storage tanks, each with a working storage capacity of 685,000 barrels,
                for a total onshore storage capacity of approximately 6 million
                barrels. The facility can accommodate five (5) additional tanks,
                bringing the total to thirteen (13) tanks or 9.8 million barrels of
                shell capacity with 8.6 million barrels of working capacity, should
                commercial drivers dictate.
                     The Jones Creek Terminal also would include: Six (6)
                electric-driven mainline crude oil pumps; three (3) electric driven
                booster crude oil pumps; one (1) crude oil pipeline pig launcher; one
                (1) crude oil pipeline pig receiver; two (2) measurement skids for
                measuring incoming crude oil--one (1) skid located at the incoming
                pipeline from the Bryan Mound facility, and one (1) skid installed for
                the outgoing crude oil barrels leaving the tank storage to be loaded on
                the VLCC; and ancillary facilities to include an operations control
                center, electrical substation, offices, and warehouse building.
                     Two onshore crude oil pipelines would be constructed
                onshore to support the Texas GulfLink deepwater port and include the
                following items:
                    [cir] One (1) proposed incoming 9.45 statute mile 36-inch outside
                diameter pipeline originating at the Department of Energy (DOE)
                facility in Bryan Mound with connectivity to the Houston market.
                    [cir] One (1) proposed outgoing 12.45 statute mile 42-inch outside
                diameter connection from the Jones Creek Terminal to the shore crossing
                where this becomes the subsea pipeline supplying the offshore deepwater
                Privacy Act
                    The electronic form of all comments received into the Federal
                Docket Management System can be searched by the name of the individual
                submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf
                of an association, business, labor union, etc.). The DOT Privacy Act
                Statement can be viewed in the Federal Register published on April 11,
                2000 (Volume 65, Number 70, pages 19477-78) or by visiting
                    Authority:  33 U.S.C. 1501, et seq.; 49 CFR 1.93(h).
                    Dated: June 21, 2019.
                    By Order of the Maritime Administrator.
                T. Mitchell Hudson, Jr.,
                Secretary, Maritime Administration.
                [FR Doc. 2019-13638 Filed 6-25-19; 8:45 am]
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