deep-water oil terminal safety
Credit: Frans Berkelaar/Flickr

Deep-water oil terminal near Texas raises safety concerns

Enterprise Products' new deep-water oil terminal off the Texas coast could pose significant risks due to its unconventional design, which allows tankers to moor closer than usual, potentially leading to catastrophic accidents in severe weather.

James Osborne reports for the Houston Chronicle.

In short:

  • Enterprise’s Sea Port Oil Terminal (SPOT) project, which can load two supertankers simultaneously, poses a risk due to its tanker mooring distance being much shorter than industry standards.
  • Experts warn that in severe weather, tankers could break free and crash into the terminal, causing a catastrophic oil spill and endangering workers.
  • Despite new standards suggesting greater mooring distances, the Maritime Administration has not required SPOT to comply, citing previous risk assessments.

Key quote:

"The worst case is the vessel is weather-vaning close to the platform and then a squall comes through and blows the vessel against the platform and knocks it over."

— Lincoln Stroh, chairman of the National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee.

Why this matters:

A collision at the terminal could lead to a massive oil spill, endangering lives and severely impacting marine ecosystems, suggesting the need for revised safety standards in offshore oil operations. Read more: As inevitable as blood and taxes.

About the author(s):

EHN Curators
EHN Curators
Articles curated and summarized by the Environmental Health News' curation team. Some AI-based tools helped produce this text, with human oversight, fact checking and editing.

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