Oiltanking Holding, TOPS partners reach settlement

Christopher E. Smith
OGJ Pipeline Editor

HOUSTON, Oct. 12 -- Oiltanking Holding Americas has settled a lawsuit it filed earlier in 2009 against Enterprise Products Partners LP and Teppco O/S Port System LLC, its former partners in the proposed Texas Offshore Port System. Oiltanking filed suit in April following the withdrawal of the other two companies from the project.

Gus Spaepen, Oiltanking GMBH’s managing director, confirmed settlement of the lawsuit, but would not disclose terms. Public filings by both Enterprise and Teppco report that each will record a $33.5 million expense connected to the settlement, slightly less than the $34 million non-cash charge the companies reported when they left the project (OGJ Online, Apr. 22, 2009). The settlement removes any legal impediment to moving the project forward.

In August 2008, affiliates of Enterprise, Teppco, and Oiltanking formed a joint venture to design, construct, own, and operate a new Texas offshore oil port and pipeline system for delivering waterborne crude to refining centers along the upper Texas Gulf Coast.

TOPS design includes an offshore port, two onshore storage facilities with about 5.1 million bbl of crude storage capacity, and an associated 160-mile, 1.8 million b/d pipeline. Total cost of the project was estimated at $1.8 billion. TOPS would use two single-point mooring buoys in about 115 ft of water capable of offloading 100,000 bbl/hr.

Long-term supply contracts with Motiva Enterprises LLC and an affiliate of ExxonMobil Corp. total about 725,000 b/d (OGJ Online Aug. 18, 2008).

Contact Christopher E. Smith at

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