Deepwater Port License Application: Bluewater Texas Terminal LLC (Bluewater)

Federal Register, Volume 84 Issue 128 (Wednesday, July 3, 2019)
[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 128 (Wednesday, July 3, 2019)]
[Pages 32005-32008]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office []
[FR Doc No: 2019-14177]
Maritime Administration
[Docket No. MARAD-2019-0094]
Deepwater Port License Application: Bluewater Texas Terminal LLC
AGENCY: Maritime Administration, Department of Transportation.
ACTION: Notice of intent; notice of public meeting; request for
SUMMARY: The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), in coordination with the Maritime
Administration (MARAD), will prepare an environmental impact statement
(EIS) as part of the environmental review of the Bluewater Texas
Terminal LLC (Bluewater) Deepwater Port License Application. The
application proposes the ownership, construction, operation and
eventual decommissioning of an offshore oil export deepwater port that
would be located in Federal waters approximately 15 nautical miles off
the coast of San Patricio County, Texas in a water depth of
approximately 89 feet. The deepwater port would allow for the loading
of Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) and other sized crude oil cargo
carriers via a single point mooring buoy system.
    This Notice of Intent (NOI) requests public participation in the
scoping process, provides information on how to participate, and
announces an informational open house and public meeting in Corpus
Christi, Texas. Pursuant to the criteria provided in the Deepwater Port
Act of 1974, as amended (the Act), Texas is the designated Adjacent
Coastal State for this application.
DATES: There will be one public scoping meeting held in connection with
the Bluewater Deepwater Port License Application. The meeting will be
held in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Monday, July 22, 2019, from 6:00 p.m.
to 8:00 p.m. The public meeting will be preceded by an informational
open house from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
    The public meeting may end later than the stated time, depending on
the number of persons wishing to speak. Additionally, materials
submitted in response to this request for comments on the Bluewater
application must reach the Federal Docket Management Facility as
detailed below by Wednesday, July 31, 2019.
ADDRESSES: The open house and public meeting in Corpus Christi, Texas
will be held at the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel, 900 N Shoreline
Boulevard, Corpus Christi, Texas, 78401, phone: (361) 887-1600, web
address: Parking is
available at the venue.
    The public docket for the Bluewater 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-2019-0094.
    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. Roddy Bachman, USCG, or Ms. Yvette M. Fields,
section of this document, which also 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.
202-372-1451, email: [email protected], or Ms. Yvette M. Fields,
MARAD, telephone: 202-366-0926, email: [email protected]. For
questions regarding viewing the Docket, call Docket Operations,
telephone: 202-366-9317 or 202-366-9826.
Public Meeting and Open House
    We encourage you to attend the informational open house and public
[[Page 32006]]
meeting to learn about, and comment on, the proposed deepwater port.
You will have the opportunity to submit comments on the scope and
significance of the issues related to the proposed deepwater port that
should be addressed in the EIS.
    Speaker registrations will be available at the door. Speakers at
the public scoping meeting will be recognized in the following order:
Elected officials, public agencies, individuals or groups in the sign-
up order and then anyone else who wishes to speak.
    In order to allow everyone a chance to speak at a public meeting,
we may limit speaker time, extend the meeting hours, or both. You must
identify yourself, and any organization you represent by name. Your
remarks will be recorded and/or transcribed for inclusion in the public
    You may submit written material at the public meeting, either in
place of, or in addition to, speaking. Written material should include
your name and address and will be included in the public docket.
    Public docket materials will be made available to the public on the
Federal Docket Management Facility website (see ADDRESSES).
    Our public meeting location is wheelchair-accessible and compliant
with the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you plan to attend the
open house or public meeting and need special assistance such as sign
language interpretation, non-English language translator services or
other reasonable accommodation, please notify the USCG or MARAD (see
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) at least 5 business days in advance of
the public meeting. Include your contact information as well as
information about your specific needs.
Request for Comments
    We request public comment on this proposal. The comments may relate
to, but are not limited to, the environmental impact of the proposed
action. All comments will be accepted. The public meeting is not the
only opportunity you have to comment on the Bluewater Deepwater Port
License Application. In addition to, or in place of, attending a
meeting, you may submit comments directly to the Federal Docket
Management Facility during the public comment period (see DATES). We
will consider all comments and material received during the 30-day
scoping period.
    The license application, comments and associated documentation, as
well as the draft and final EISs (when published), are available for
viewing at the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website: under docket number MARAD-2019-0094.
    Public comment submissions should include:
     Docket number MARAD-2019-0094.
     Your name and address.
    Submit comments or material using only one of the following
     Electronically (preferred for processing) to the Federal
Docket Management System (FDMS) website:
under docket number MARAD-2019-0094.
     By mail to the Federal Docket Management Facility (MARAD-
2019-0094), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building, Ground
Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-
     By personal delivery to the room and address listed above
between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal
     By fax to the Federal Docket Management Facility at 202-
    Faxed, mailed or hand delivered submissions must be unbound, no
larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 inches and suitable for copying and electronic
scanning. The format of electronic submissions should also be no larger
than 8\1/2\ by 11 inches. If you mail your submission and want to know
when it reaches the Federal Docket Management Facility, please include
a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope.
    Regardless of the method used for submitting comments, all
submissions will be posted, without change, to the FDMS website ( and will include any personal information you
provide. Therefore, submitting this information to the docket makes it
public. You may wish to read the Privacy and Use Notice that is
available on the FDMS website and the Department of Transportation
Privacy Act Notice that appeared in the Federal Register on April 11,
2000 (65 FR 19477), see Privacy Act. You may view docket submissions at
the Federal Docket Management Facility or electronically on the FDMS
    Information about deepwater ports, the statutes, and regulations
governing their licensing, including the application review process,
and the receipt of the current application for the proposed Bluewater
deepwater port appears in the Bluewater Notice of Application,
Wednesday, June 26, 2019 edition of the Federal Register (84 FR 30301).
The ``Summary of the Application'' from that publication is reprinted
below for your convenience.
    Consideration of a deepwater port license application includes
review of the proposed deepwater port's impact on the natural and human
environment. For the proposed deepwater port, USCG and MARAD are the
co-lead Federal agencies for determining the scope of this review, and
in this case, it has been determined that review must include
preparation of an EIS. This NOI is required by 40 CFR 1501.7. It
briefly describes the proposed action, possible alternatives and our
proposed scoping process. You can address any questions about the
proposed action, the scoping process or the EIS to the USCG or MARAD
project managers identified in this notice (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Proposed Action and Alternatives
    The proposed action requiring environmental review is the Federal
licensing of the proposed deepwater port described in ``Summary of the
Application'' below. The alternatives to licensing the proposed port
are: (1) Licensing with conditions (including conditions designed to
mitigate environmental impact), (2) evaluation of deepwater port and
onshore site/pipeline route alternatives or (3) denying the
application, which for purposes of environmental review is the ``no-
action'' alternative.
Scoping Process
    Public scoping is an early and open process for identifying and
determining the scope of issues to be addressed in the EIS. Scoping
begins with this notice, continues through the public comment period
(see DATES), and ends when USCG and MARAD have completed the following
     Invites the participation of Federal, state, and local
agencies, any affected Indian tribe, the applicant, in this case
Bluewater, and other interested persons;
     Determines the actions, alternatives and impacts described
in 40 CFR 1508.25;
     Identifies and eliminates from detailed study, those
issues that are not significant or that have been covered elsewhere;
     Identifies other relevant permitting, environmental review
and consultation requirements;
     Indicates the relationship between timing of the
environmental review and other aspects of the application process; and
     At its discretion, exercises the options provided in 40
CFR 1501.7(b).
    Once the scoping process is complete, USCG and MARAD will prepare a
[[Page 32007]]
EIS. When complete, MARAD will publish a Federal Register notice
announcing public availability of the Draft EIS. (If you want that
notice to be sent to you, please contact the USCG or MARAD project
manager identified in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). You will have
an opportunity to review and comment on the Draft EIS. The USCG, MARAD
and other appropriate cooperating agencies will consider the received
comments and then prepare the Final EIS. As with the Draft EIS, we will
announce the availability of the Final EIS and give you an opportunity
for review and comment. The Act requires a final public hearing to be
held in the Adjacent Coastal State. Its purpose is to receive comments
on matters related to whether or not an operating license should be
issued. The final public hearing will be held after the Final EIS is
made available for public review and comment.
Summary of the Application
    Bluewater is proposing to construct, own, and operate a deepwater
port terminal in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) to export domestically
produced crude oil. The proposed project involves the design,
engineering, and construction of a deepwater port, approximately 56.48
miles of pipeline infrastructure, and a booster station. The Bluewater
deepwater port would allow for up to two (2) very large crude carriers
(VLCCs) or other crude oil carriers to moor at single point mooring
(SPM) buoys and connect with the deepwater port via floating connecting
crude oil hoses. During single vessel loading operations, the proposed
project is capable of loading rates of up to approximately 80,000
barrels per hour (bph) and during simultaneous vessel loading
operations, the proposed project is capable of loading rates of 40,000
bph. The facility is expected to service 16 Very Large Crude Carriers
(VLCCs) per month.
    For the purposes of this application, the proposed Bluewater
project is described in three distinguishable segments by locality, to
include the onshore components, the inshore components and the offshore
    Onshore components associated with the proposed Bluewater project
are defined as those components on the landward side of the western
Redfish Bay Mean High Tide (MHT) line, located in San Patricio and
Aransas Counties, Texas. The onshore project components include:
     Approximately 22.20 miles of two (2) new parallel 30-inch-
diameter crude oil pipelines extending from a planned multi-use
terminal located south of the City of Taft in San Patricio County,
Texas. The planned multi-use terminal will consist of multiple inbound
and outbound crude oil pipelines. Two of those outbound pipelines
compose the proposed pipeline infrastructure that will extend to the
inshore pipeline which connects to the proposed Harbor Island Booster
Station (Booster Station) described below.
    Inshore components associated with the proposed Bluewater project
are defined as those components located between the western Redfish Bay
MHT line and the MHT line located at the interface of San Jose Island
and the GOM. Inshore project components include:
     Approximately 7.15 miles of two (2) new 30-inch-diameter
crude oil pipelines connecting to the onshore facility, an
approximately 19-acre booster station and a connection to the offshore
pipeline. The onshore pipeline would be located within San Patricio
County, Texas and Nueces County, Texas and the Booster Station would be
located on Harbor Island in Nueces County, Texas.
     The Booster Station will include approximately 19 acres of
land with two (2) aboveground crude oil storage tanks, each with a
total storage capacity of 181,000 barrels and two (2) 181,000-barrel
water storage tanks. The purpose of water tanks is to allow for the
clearing of the pipeline infrastructure. During clearing operations,
water from the water storage tanks would be pumped through the
pipelines and back to the Booster Station. The displaced crude oil
would be placed in the two crude oil storage tanks.
     Additionally, the Booster Station will contain equipment
and piping to provide interconnectivity with the crude oil supply
network for the Bluewater project. This would include the installation
of four (4) 5,500 horsepower electrically powered motors in a series
electronically locked into operation as two booster pumping systems
delivering approximately 11,000 horsepower to each of the two (2) 30-
inch diameter pipelines. Further, the Booster Station would house the
necessary infrastructure to support the transport of crude oil through
the proposed pipeline infrastructure to the deepwater port for the
loading of moored vessels to include a fire water tank, firewater
pumps, stormwater runoff treatment plant and pumps, emergency
generator, foam and water monitors and an operations office.
    Offshore components associated with the proposed Bluewater project
are defined as those components located seaward of the MHT line located
at the interface of San Jose Island and the GOM. The offshore project
components include:
     Approximately 27.13 miles of two (2) new 30-inch-diameter
crude oil pipelines extending from the shoreline crossing at the
interface of San Jose Island to the offshore Bluewater deepwater port
for crude oil delivery to Single Point Mooring (SPM) buoys.
     Two (2) SPMs in Outer Continental Shelf Matagorda Island
Area TX4 lease blocks 698 and 699, approximately 15 nautical miles
(17.26 statute miles) off the coast of San Patricio County, Texas in a
water depth of approximately 89 feet.
     A catenary anchor leg mooring (CALM) system for each SPM
buoy connected to a pipeline end manifold (PLEM) system, mooring
hawsers, floating hoses, and sub-marine hoses to allow for the loading
of crude oil to vessels moored at the proposed deepwater port. The SPM
buoy system will be permanently moored with a symmetrically arranged
six-leg anchor dual chain configuration extending to twelve (12) 72-
inch-diameter pile anchors installed on the seafloor.
     Each of the proposed SPM buoy systems will consist of
inner and outer cylindrical shells subdivided into twelve equal-sized
watertight radial compartments. A rotating table will be affixed to the
SPM buoy and allow for the connection of moored vessels to the SPM buoy
system via mooring hawsers. Two floating hoses equipped with marine
break-away couplings will be utilized for the transfer of crude oil
from the SPM buoy systems to the moored vessel. Floating hoses will be
equipped with strobe lights at 15-foot intervals for detection at night
and low-light conditions.
Privacy Act
    The electronic form of all comments received into the FDMS 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 Department of Transportation 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 27, 2019.
[[Page 32008]]
    By Order of the Maritime Administrator.
T. Mitchell Hudson, Jr.
Secretary, Maritime Administration.
[FR Doc. 2019-14177 Filed 7-2-19; 8:45 am]