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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Oil official says energy industry’s future is bright

Oil official says energy industry’s future is bright

The incoming president of Louisiana Offshore Oil Port made some positive predictions Tuesday about the energy industry.

Incoming President Terry Coleman has served LOOP since 2008 and is a registered engineer.

Coleman spoke to members of the South Central Industrial Association at the Courtyard by Marriott in Houma. He talked about crude oil consumption, exports from the region, the demand for energy, the future of fossil fuel and technology in the energy industry.

LOOP serves various facets of the oil industry and is a “diversified global energy hub,” which supports commerce for refiners, traders and producers of energy.

“When you fully load a VLCC, it drops about 85 feet in the water, and the terminal is situated offshore in about 110 feet of water. That means that tanker can come in empty or with a payload on it, and we can completely top it off and send it to another place. We are the only port where that tanker can actually enter without being lighter,” Coleman said.

The group owns 48 miles of 48-inch pipeline that can operate at up to 100,000 barrels of oil a day. It also owns 22 storage tanks, which can store more than 12 million barrels.

“Twenty-two tanks means you can store that many types of oil,” said Coleman. “Crude oil is not all alike. We are connected to 12 refineries in the region from Baton Rouge all the way down to the lower Mississippi River. Each plant runs a different type of crude oil.”

Coleman said most of the 225 employees are located in Cut Off or Port Fourchon.

“The unique thing about LOOP and the thing we pride ourselves on is that we are located right here and we live in the region. All of our employees either live in Terrebonne, Lafourche or surrounding parishes. We covet the relationship we have with the community.”

Coleman said the region has begun to export oil to nations around the world. To date, four tankers have been loaded with 2 million barrels apiece. They’ve already reached China and Singapore, and one just left the Caribbean.

“Quite a few projects in the Houston area are trying to do the same thing, but you can’t bring a tanker in without having to dredge channels, move bridges and change interstate configurations,” said Coleman. “We are fortunate to have the facilities in the Gulf that allow all of us to get our products to the market.”

Coleman said there will be less domestic consumption in the future. We’ll also see greater global efficiency, he said. At the same time, the population of the globe is growing, creating more demand for energy.

Coleman said the world population is projected to increase to 9.2 billion people by 2040, with the most urban population growth projected to take place in Africa. It is estimated that 600 million people will live in urban areas throughout the continent. That would be twice the number of U.S. citizens living in urban areas throughout Africa. They expect 2.5 billion people to be lifted into the global middle class by 2040, with developing nations accounting for nearly all the energy demand growth.

“With that comes opportunity for industries on our coast,” he said.

Coleman said energy from the Gulf Coast will remain an essential part of the global energy equation. The U.S. consumes 16.7 million barrels a day, produces almost 11 million and exports almost 2 million a day.

As of July 2016, the U.S. was producing around 8.5 million barrels of crude oil per day. That number has risen to almost 11 million by this month. Foreign imports from Canada and other nations largely remained the same over the two-year period where U.S. production grew.

“Our message today is that business on the Gulf Coast is good,” said Coleman. “Business is changing in the Gulf, and we at LOOP are really engaged in that change.”

-- Daily Comet Staff Writer Scott McLendon can be reached at 857-2204 or Follow on Twitter @mclendon_b.