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

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,
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.
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
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]