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
’12 Years a Slave’ rises up at Academy Awards
Perhaps atoning for past sins, Hollywood named the brutal, unshrinking historical drama “12 Years a Slave” best picture at the 86th annual Academy Awards.
Steve McQueen’s slavery odyssey, based on Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir, has been hailed as a landmark corrective to the movie industry’s virtual blindness to slavery, instead creating whiter tales like 1940 best-picture winner “Gone With the Wind.” “12 Years a Slave” is the first best-picture winner directed by a black filmmaker.
Shirley Temple, iconic child star, dies at 85
Shirley Temple, the dimpled, curly-haired child star who sang, danced, sobbed and grinned her way into the hearts of Depression-era moviegoers, has died, according to publicist Cheryl Kagan. She was 85.
Freezing rain, sleet Thursday into Friday
Wicked winter weather is heading to Southeast Texas Thursday night into Friday.
An arctic cold front will be passing through bringing along with it much colder and windier conditions, according to a National Weather Service press release.
‘Hustle,’ ’Gravity’ lead Oscar nominations
The Academy Awards appear to be the three-horse race many expected it would be, with “Gravity,” “American Hustle” and “12 Years a Slave” all receiving a heap of nominations. All were among the nine films nominated for best picture. The other nominees are “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Philomena.”
Wendy Davis tours Port of Beaumont
State Sen. Wendy Davis burst onto the national political stage in June, when she spent 11 hours filibustering in an attempt to block Senate Bill 5, a contentious piece of legislation that banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and required abortion clinics to meet the same standards as an ambulatory surgical center. Although the bill passed the next month during a special session called by Gov. Rick Perry, Davis breathed new life into a Texas Democratic Party that last saw an official elected to statewide office in 1994.
- Jack-knifed trailer snarls traffic, closes Rainbow Bridge
UPDATED — Where to go: Fall Fests, Trunk R Treats and Pumpkin Patches
If you're looking for a place to bring the kids trick or treating, or maybe looking for a great patch to grab a pumpkin here is a list of events planned around the area.
Overturned 18-wheeler shuts down portion of Hwy 73
The portion of Highway 73 traveling eastbound at U.S. Highway 69 will be blocked for two to three hours due to an overturned 18-wheeler. Motorists should take an alternate route to avoid the area.
The Port Arthur Police Department is on scene and investigating the accident. No further details are known at this time.
Streets lined to pay respects to Maddox
Motorcyclists, Coast Guard and members of the Hamshire-Fannett Fire Department along with the public are gathered at Jack Brooks Regional Airport to pay tribute to fallen soldier Anthony Maddox.
Fermo's Got Chocolate Milk
Marathoner Jeremy Fermo didn’t know much anything about sports when he was a student at Nederland High School.
“I was in the Nederland marching band; I didn’t take P.E.,” the 33-year-old Lumberton resident said.
It wasn’t until he wanted to lose a few pounds years back and started walking that he started caring about his physical fitness. Walking turned into running and then he started training for his first half-marathon about three years ago.
- More Top Stories Headlines
- ’12 Years a Slave’ rises up at Academy Awards