ABERDEEN, Wash. — The Port of Grays Harbor has announced an agreement to lease property for a crude oil unloading and storage facility. The oil would arrive by train and then be loaded on to barges bound for refineries on the West Coast.
The port on the southwest Washington coast has been looking for other options since a proposal to build a coal export terminal there fell through last year.
Oil seems to be the next hot commodity. There are billions of barrels of petroleum in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota. Some of it is already traveling through the Northwest by train to refineries in Anacortes, Tacoma and Cherry Point, north of Bellingham.
Grays Harbor wouldn’t be refining the oil, just loading it from trains into storage tanks and then onto barges. Right now Grays Harbor exports cars, grain, biofuel, heavy equipment and soybeans.
“We feel that it compliments the existing ag products and automobiles and heavy equipment that we handle,” said Gary Nelson, executive director of the Port of Grays Harbor.
The terminal would be built and operated by U.S. Development Group of Houston.
Now that the company has been granted the option to lease, it has two years to do further analysis and get the required permits before construction can begin.
The port said the company hasn’t submitted a plan yet but that the facility could be serviced by a train every two to three days.
Oil could make up between 30-40 percent of the port’s exports if the facility is built.
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