Westway Terminals is positioning itself to take full advantage of another market shift instigated by the shale revolution
Geoff Roberts, chairman of the board at the New Orleans-based company explains that petrochemical production in the Gulf Coast will continue to grow and will create long-term investment in the sector. ‘We look less at the short-term trends and take a more long-term trend approach. ‘As more and more of the market starts to understand the significance of the shale revolution, many competitors want to pursue opportunities on the crude side,’ he says.
‘There is a tremendous availability of crude oil and natural gas which will create long-term investment in petrochemicals – that is where we want to focus. ‘There is a lot of value in these small, niche plays.’ This market focus has been the driving force behind a multi-phase project in Houston, Texas to construct a petrochemical hub. An additional 300,000 barrels of capacity has been added, bringing the total capacity to more than three million barrels. Over the next three years Westway is planning to add approximately 350,000 barrels of additional capacity to the hub. High value products are the focus of the expansion such as biodiesel, acids and fertilisers in addition to other specialty chemicals.
‘We want to be very much customer driven and base our business model and future expansion projects around the needs of our customer. ‘For example in Iowa our customers have been asking for increased rail capacity so we are in the process of building a substantial rail expansion – driven by our customers needs.
’Elsewhere, at the company’s Grays Harbor facility in Washington a crude-by-rail facility will not only increase rail capacity but will also add between 400,000 to one million barrels of additional capacity. Due to regulatory restrictions, the facility will have an average throughput of 50,000 barrels per day. ‘We have similar projects at every one of our terminals – all of them have expansion possibilities,’ explains Roberts. ‘We are looking to add somewhere between 600,000 to 700,000 barrels of additional capacity across the board over the next three years.’