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

Cited as:84 FR 32005
Court:Maritime Administration
Publication Date:03 Jul 2019
Record Number:2019-14177
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,
                MARAD, as listed in the following FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
                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.
                FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Roddy Bachman, USCG, telephone:
                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]
                BILLING CODE 4910-81-P