PORT ARTHUR —
In the absence of a pipeline, a train will do.
From Colorado, Wyoming, North and South Dakota and anywhere in between, crude oil lumbers into the GT OmniPort by train. There, it is transferred through hoses into an underground pipeline that carries it onto a barge, and the barge carries the crude oil to its designated refinery.
The crude oil by train process helps relieve the pressure created by trapped oil in some regions, like North Dakota and Canada, that have not been connected to pipelines that carry oil to refineries for production. The Keystone Pipeline would be an outlet for some of the trapped oil, as well. But until Keystone is built, the GT OmniPort will be bringing in oil by train.
To celebrate the official opening of business at the terminal, the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce and the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce will hold a ribbon-cutting and grand opening ceremony for the GT OmniPort Tuesday at 10 a.m.
“We saw it as a niche that would allow us to fill a need that the refineries have until the pipelines get built,” said Timothy DeSpain, president and cofounder of GT Logistics. “What we do today is going to change over time.”
Although the Keystone Pipeline would impact the OmniPort’s operations, DeSpain said it would benefit the facility in the long run because the pipeline would bring more crude product into the region. Plus, there would likely still be production that is stranded, not connected to a pipeline or simply too crude for pipeline carriers, and the facility’s infrastructure could be converted to facilitate finished products, as well.
“We haven’t designed this as just solely a crude-by-rail site,” DeSpain said. “It’s designed to be a full-board terminal and potentially a processing site, as well.”
The $95 million facility can process about 70,000 to 100,000 barrels a day on its more than eight miles of rail lines. The 1,100-acre terminal, located on Highway 73 just a stone’s throw from major refineries, is served by Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railway Co. and a barge dock on Taylor’s Bayou.
But just 300 acres are for rail car storage capable of holding, switching and transloading over 1,000 rail cars. The remaining 800 acres are available for lease or sale, and the next phase of development for the facility would be construction of storage tanks that could hold more than 250,000 barrels, according to a press release.
GT Logistics, which operates the OmniPort, has been discussing the potential development of a storage terminal with Gibson Energy Inc., a Canadian energy company. The tank storage phase could be completed in early 2013 and include pipeline connections to existing pipelines, refineries and the deepwater dock so the terminal could both import and export product.
Together, the terminal and the 20-acre deepwater dock that GT Logistics also owns and operates on the Sabine-Neches Navigation District Channel form the GT OmniPort, the first multi-user facility of its kind in the Golden Triangle area.
And a state-of-the-art facility it is, said Bart Owens, vice president and general manager of GT Logistics. The entire process of transferring crude oil from trains to barges is done with a computer, which can tell to a barrel how much oil is being moved.
It looks like a modern operation, as well, in the Master Control Center, which controls every aspect of the system with its flat screen monitors that show the entire line, from train car to barge. It requires 10 people per shift to operate the system, and in the past, a similar process would have taken up to 40 people, Owens said. The facility operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Still, GT Logistics has hired 40 full-time employees in the year the OmniPort has been there. It started with two employees a year ago and could create 1,000 jobs once the facility is complete. Further development and construction could employ even more people, DeSpain said.
The company had 10 local firms assist with prior development and construction, and more development would mean more construction jobs. The OmniPort itself would hire anywhere from 30 to 40 people after the next phase of development, DeSpain said.
“It’s nice to have a major part of the project complete,” Owens said. “I’m proud of what we’ve done.”
PORT ARTHUR —
In the absence of a pipeline, a train will do.
- Top Stories
Land office attempting to close Rollover
The days of dropping a line and hooking a big flounder, pulling it from the teeming waters of Rollover Pass may soon be a thing of the past.
The Texas General Land Office applied for a permit to close the Pass after Hurricane Ike in 2008 because of the heavy erosion sustained by surrounding beaches and other ongoing issues.
- Man dead after hours-long standoff in Groves
Officers taught to ‘charge, charge, charge’ at Active Shooter Training
The role of local law enforcement drastically changed after two teenage boys walked into Columbine High School in Littletown, Colo., and opened fire in 1999. Though local police arrived quickly, they waited nearly 45 minutes for the “elite” police team to assemble and go through the school.
Elroy Chester executed, family of victims present
In his last statement before lethal injection began Port Arthur serial killer Elroy Chester admitted to the violent string of murders he was accused of then asked the family of his victims not to hate him.
Southern Baptists expected to address Scouting
The Southern Baptist Convention is expected to take a stand against the Boy Scouts of America’s acceptance of gay members at the denomination’s annual meeting in Houston this week.
PA Transit center near completion
Crews are putting the finishing touches on a newly-renovated Transit Authority Service Center, while construction workers across the street are preparing to build an Auto Scrubber facility to automatically wash Transit vehicles.
Highland Park students slime principal
Second grade students at Highland Elementary School in Nederland lined up on Wednesday to each pour slime on Principal George Rienstra.
SE Texans can help with tornado relief
While rescue crews sift through miles of rubble left by Monday’s monstrous tornado in search of survivors, local organizations are preparing to send both volunteers and supplies to assist the crippled area.
• Go to www.redcross.org to donate
Kree, Candice bring soul to 'Idol' finale
Woodville native and Southeast Texas sweetheart Kree Harrison may already be a local hero, the 22-year-old battled to be America's Idol against fellow Southerner Candice Glover from South Carolina Wednesday night.
Southeast Texas rallies around ‘Idol’
Kree Harrison will take the stage at 7 p.m. Wednesday for the title of "American Idol" on FOX. Make sure to vote!
- More Top Stories Headlines
- Land office attempting to close Rollover