GT OmniPort opens

GT OmniPort opens

They call it a multi-modal terminal, which is a fancy name for a facility built to transport crude oil and other products via rail, ship, barge and truck.

GT Omniport is a $95 million, 1,100 acre facility near refineries with more than 1 million barrels per day of capacity, multiple chemical and processing plants and is located less than one mile from over 4 million barrels of petroleum product storage capacity and pipelines currently serving the region.

At the grand opening ceremony Tuesday, Oct. 16, company representatives welcomed elected officials and civic leaders to the site where an important piece of Port Arthur’s industrial past has been reclaimed to become an integral cog in the energy future. The exceptional site with a long petrochemical history is strategically located 85 miles east of Houston on Taylor Bayou.

“This is a plant site – Coppers opened a refinery there in 1951. Then it became Sinclair Coppers and then it went through several names – Arco, Arco Polymers, EquiStar – and wound up as Lyondell. We acquired it from Lyondell in 2010,” said Bart Owens, vice-president and general manager for GT Logistics. “The plant was idled in 1999, and Lyondell made the decision to raze the plant, take down the mechanical portion and remove it. When we bought it, we had the concrete foundations and underground piping to remove.”

Owens said after completing an environmental cleanup of the site, the company was able to devise its master plan. In an interview with the Business Journal in February 2012, Owens provided some insight into the company’s thinking about its new acquisition.

“We sat down and looked at what our best opportunity was (for the site). It was two-fold. One would be a logistics play — that is, a business that supports the regional petrochemical and refining industry in handling product via rail, barge and truck. It’s a unique piece of property that sits on the Union Pacific mainline; it sits on Taylor Bayou turnaround, which connects to the Intracoastal (Waterway), so there’s barge access; and then of course it sits on Highway 73 for truck access.”

The rail terminal has direct access to main line rail served by both the Union Pacific and BNSF railroads and is able to receive unit train traffic with storage track capable of holding up to 250 rail cars. The next phase of rail storage capacity expansion is underway with 300 acres of land dedicated to rail car storage that, upon final completion, will be able to store, switch and transload more than 1,000 rail cars. The rail terminal site also features a multi-barge receiving dock on Taylor’s Bayou, convenient access to Highway 73 and Interstate 10, and connectivity to the extensive network of pipelines serving the region.

Ocean-going vessels including ships and barges will be accommodated thanks to another GTL acquisition nearby. GT OmniPort is currently served by a barge dock on Taylor Bayou with space for four-barge berthing. Taylor Bayou is dredged to 15 feet and connects to the Intercostal Waterway 1.7 miles from the dock. Additional frontage is available on the bayou for future development. Construction will begin soon on the deepwater dock on the Sabine-Neches waterway with more than 1,590 feet of frontage improved with an 879 foot bulkhead. It is located 14.8 NM from open sea. The Sabine-Neches waterway is maintained at a depth of 42 feet.

Transporting product by ship, rail and truck, GT Omniport is the first multi-user facility of its kind in the Golden Triangle region – and will be an economic engine for the area.

“Once fully operational, the terminal will create up to 45 new jobs,” said Beau Maida, director of Rail Operations for GTL affiliate GT Rail Inc. “The opening of the GT OmniPort rail terminal offers rail users a significant opportunity to improve operating efficiencies in the Golden Triangle region as our location, ability to provide on-site locomotive power, use of AEI tag readers for inventory reporting, staff of experienced and certified rail professionals and access to excellent rail service with available main line switching frequency seven days a week will ensure customers safe and efficient service.”

Timothy DeSpain, GTL principal and president, said, “This is one of the nation’s largest projects of its kind in size and scope. The potential for exports of oil and refined products produced in the United States and the changing shipping landscape associated with the expansion of the Panama Canal make the GT OmniPort an attractive transportation hub in the international markets. We are eager to see the positive economic impact our operations will have on the economy.”