Friday, July 26, 2013

Port of Vancouver Oil Terminal Lease Approved

On July 23, the Port of Vancouver USA’s Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a 10-year lease for a crude oil handling facility at the port. The approval came after a series of five public workshops over a ten-week period dealing with issues related to crude oil as well as information specific to this proposal.

The project, proposed by longtime port tenant Tesoro in partnership with the logistics company Savage, is expected to bring North American crude oil to the port by rail, where it would then be transferred to marine vessels for transport to refineries in California, Washington and Alaska.

With the lease approval, the project now moves into the environmental permitting process. Washington State’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council is to act as the lead agency for local and state permits, and the companies will work through an extensive process to address local, state and federal requirements.

The Tesoro-Savage Joint Venture, or TSJV, would lease about 42 acres of port property to accommodate a rail unloading facility, storage tanks and a vessel loading area. The estimated capital investment by TSJV is $100 million, and revenue to the port is expected to exceed $45 million over the 10-year lease period.

When operational, the terminal would be capable of shipping up to 360,000 barrels of crude a day, with up to four trains arriving daily from North Dakota and Canada. The port also says the facility is expected to create between 80 and 120 permanent jobs and 250 temporary construction jobs.

In the weeks and months leading up to the vote, the proposed terminal had drawn the support of business and labor leaders and the opposition of environmentalists and others who expressed concerns about the project’s safety and potential impact on climate change.

Although the three-member commission acknowledged that the contentious issue would likely not sit well with a substantial portion of the local community, all three said they felt the project was in the port’s best interest.